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• #.«, 

w^ PANAMA p 












David S. Parker 


Charles I. McGinnis 

Lieutenant Governor 

Frank A. Baldwin 

Panama Canal Information Officer 

Willie K Friar 

Editor, English Edition 

Jose T. Tunon 
Editor, Spanish Edition 

Eunice Richard, Fannie P. Hernandez, 
Official Panama Canal Publication Franklin Castrellon and Dolores E. Suisman 

Review articles may be reprinted without further clearance. Credit tu the Review will be appreciated. 
The Panama Canal Review is published twice a year. Yearly subscription: regular mail $1, airmail $2, single copies 50 cents. 

For subscription, send check or money order, made payable to the Panama Canal Company, to Panama Canal Review, Box M, Balboa Heights, C.Z. 

Editorial Office is located in Room 100, Administration Building, Balboa Heights, C.Z. 

Printed at the Panama Canal Printing Plant, La Boca, C.Z. 


The Golden Huacas of Panama 3 

Treasures of a forgotten 
people arouse the curiosity 
of archeologists around the 

Snoopy Speaks Spanish 8 

In the phonetics of the fun- 
nies, a Spanish-speaking dog 
doesn't say "bow wow." 

Balseria 11 

Broken legs are the name of 
the game when the Guaymis 
get together for this unique 

Bicycling on the Isthmus 15 

The unicycle may be the best 
answer for complete equality 
in the age of unisex. 

To Russia with the Russians 17 

From New York to Leningrad 
with ballet, balalaikas and 

Shipping Notes 22 

The style in cruising this year 
is to the exotic and unusual 

When Left Was Right 25 

Driving rules were reversed 
with hardly a hitch— except 
for the horses. 

Salsipuedes 28 

Everything from lizards to 
love potions is sold in Pan- 
ama's legend-shrouded street. 

Culinary Capers 32 

History 35 

Artwork— Carlos Mendez, page 14, 32, 34; 
Hector Sinclair, page 22; Peter Gurney, 
page 2.5. 

Our Cover 

Huaca fanciers will find their favor- 
ites among the symbolic characters of 
the warrior, rainbow, condor god, eagle 
and alligator in this display of Pan- 
ama's famous golden artifacts. 

The huacas, copied from those recov- 
ered from the graves of pre-Columbian 
Carib Indians, were loaned to The 
Review by Neville Harte. The well 
known local archeologist also provided 
much of the information for the article 
from his unrivaled knowledge of the 
subject— the fruit of a 26-year-long love 
affair with the huaca, and the country 
and people of Panama, past and present. 

Harte has made replicas of 109 
different huacas— many from originals 
he recovered himself— using the lost- 
wax process of casting metal. 

Because huacas are beautiful, rare, 
valuable, or a combination of all three, 
they are a major attraction for tourists 
and residents who visit the Panama Mu- 
seum to see the originals, or jewelry and 
antique shops to buy the reproductions. 

Two often asked questions about the 
golden huaca are who discovered the 
ancient lost-wax process and how did 
the Indians mine gold. The explanations 
are simple: The lost-wax process was 
never lost and the Indians did not mine 

The phrase "lost-wax process" does 
not mean the technique was lost and 
rediscovered; it simply means the wax 
is lost in the process. 

Gold in a relatively pure state was 
plentiful in stream beds. It was bright 
and shiny and caught the sun's rays and 
thus the Indians' eyes. And they panned 
rather than mined their gold. 

Arthur L. Pollack produced the un- 
usual three-dimensional effect necessary 
to appreciate the intricate beauty of the 
huacas by photographing them on a 
sheet of plate glass suspended 3 inches 
above a piece of red satin material. 

2 Fall 1973 

a vanished people who inhabited 
Panama during pre-Columbian times is 
found in the "golden huacas," the pre- 
cious artifacts which were buried with 
them 1,000 years ago. 

These people left no written history. 
But the objects they made— jewelry, 
weapons, tools and ornaments— give a 
clue to their great culture and the skill 
of their artisans. 

In these archeological finds lies the 
history of a great nation obscured by 
time. Many facts are known, but even 
thev change according to the books read 
or experts consulted. What is a huaca? Is 
a huaca a tomb and a huaco an artifact 
recovered from the tomb? Or is it the 
other wav around? Were huacas orna- 
ments, offerings to the gods, good luck 
charms, battle armor, coats of arms? Is 
the word itself spelled huacal or guacal 
or huaca or guaca? It matters little. 
Here in Panama, "huacas" have come 
to mean the artifacts removed from the 
graves of the Indian tribes who pros- 
pered on the rich and lovelv lands of 
the Isthmus until the Spaniards came 
to plunder, kill and drive them from 
their homes. 

The golden huaca has traveled a long 
journey over manv lands. It was created 
by the hands of the skilled Caribbean 
goldsmith who fashioned a breast orna- 
ment for a warrior and a strand of gold 
beads for his lady. Placed in the tomb 
with other items chosen to accompanv 
him on his journey to another life, the 
gold ornaments remained sunbright for 
hundreds of years. 

Today, a replica of the golden huaca 
is a small part of pre-Columbian history 
that can be worn around the neck or on 
the ears. Satisfying the current craving 
for the unique and exotic, huacas are 
growing in popularity as the gift that 
evervone wants to own or to give. Fash- 
ioned into pendants, bracelets, earrings, 
even wedding rings— by jewelers in Pan- 
ama and other countries of Central and 
South America-they are favored as gifts 
and cherished as souvenirs. 

And the spell of the huaca is such 
that it never becomes just a piece of 
jewelrv. Alwavs its owner is aware of 
its inpenetrable secrets ... of the stories 
it would tell if it could. 

In the late 1920's, following floods 
that changed the river's course, natives 
traveling along the Rio Grande de Co- 
de, just 100 miles from the Canal Zone, 

had one of modern man's earliest 
glimpses of this reminder of Panama's 
ancient civilization. A glimmer that 
proved to be the golden treasure of a 
forgotten people that had been buried 
with their dead. 

The gold ornaments the natives un- 
covered, along with bone fragments and 
pottery, made their way from hand to 
hand until they arrived in a Pan- 
ama City antique shop, and eventually 
aroused the curiousity of archeologists 
around the world. 

Following the accidental discovery 
and the verification of its importance, 
an expedition, led by the famed archeo- 
logist Samuel K. Lothrop, was sent to 
the site by the Peabody Museum of 
Harvard University. 

In one of his reports, Dr. Lothrop 
tells of the complex story that began to 
unfold when, while digging beneath the 
top layer of pasture land, he brought to 
light signs of ancient habitation. One 
grave, only 12 feet by 14 feet in size, 
yielded more than 2,000 objects. Ninety- 
six of these were gold. There were 
pendants set with semiprecious stones, 
ornamental breast plates, necklaces of 

Elsa Fifer, a 
student assistant in the 
General Audit Division, 
wears a replica of an 
Indian headband that 
is adorned with a 
golden alligator. 

thousands of beads, heavily embossed 
gold disks, wrist and ankle cuffs, and 

His studies during this and later ex- 
peditions to Code Province convinced 
Dr. Lothrop that the "civilization repre- 
sented by these finds belonged to tribes 
practically unknown today . . . rich and 
industrious peoples, skilled in working 
clay, stone and metals." 

The gold artifacts uncovered in these 
ancient sites and at others in the prov- 
inces of Chiriqui and Veraguas, and also 
at Venado Beach in the Canal Zone, are 
displayed in the Panama Museum and 
in many museums in the United States 
and Europe— a silent tribute to the mas- 
ter craftsmen who reached a pinnacle 
of artistry more than 1,000 years ago 
in Panama. 

Fashioned by a curious technique, 
the gold figures portray stylized human 
and animal forms or a combination of 
the two. There are snakes with two 
legs, men with crocodile heads, and 
figures with a human head and shoulders 
attached to the body of a snake, with 
the projecting eyes of a crab, and the 
recurring images of the alligator and 

The Panama Canal Review 

eagle which many believe have reli- 
gious significance. 

There is agreement among archeo- 
logists that the superb gold relics in- 
terred in the ancient graves represent 
high aesthetic and technical achieve- 
ment, and that the Code goldsmiths 
were among the few in ancient America 
sufficiently skilled to make hollow cast- 
ings. There agreement ends. No one 
seems sure how they were able to cast 
these fabulous artifacts. 

In a 1, 200-year-old grave of a Carib 
Indian goldsmith, Neville Harte, one 
of the foremost local experts on the 
golden huaca, believes he found the 
ancient melting secret of what is called 
the lost-wax method of casting. 

Huaca rings, earrings, 
a pin, and a necklace 
from Neville Harte's 
collection, are modeled 
by Dolores Fitch, 
of the Office of the 
Youth Advisor. 

Harte, a retired employee of the 
U.S. Army, has devoted weekends and 
vacations in search of pre-Columbian 
history. Since 1968 when he retired, he 
has devoted most of his time to the study 
of the golden huacas. After finding the 
goldsmith's grave, he spent 3 years on 
a successful project to reproduce these 
golden relics using the techniques he 
believes the ancient Carib craftsmen 
used to produce the originals, and 
another 17 years to perfect his methods. 
Only recently has he created what he 
considers satisfactory reproductions. 

In reproducing replicas of the original 
huacas, Harte makes a wax model of 
the object he will cast in precious metal. 
He adds long, thin threads of wax as 
decorative details, and affixes a cone of 
wax to the model's base which will serve 
as a funnel-shaped pouring channel for 
the molten metal. When the wax model 
is complete, he covers it with powdered 
charcoal to insure a smooth casting sur- 
face. Then the model is covered with 
an outer shell made of a mixture of 
moist clay and crushed charcoal. After 
the outer shell dries, the entire as- 
sembly is fired to strengthen the mold 
and burn out the wax to leave a cavity 
of the same shape as the now-lost wax 
model. The mold is then brought to red 

heat and the molten metal poured in, 
When the metal solidifies, the mold is 
broken away to expose the golden 

Many people have the idea that the 
lost-wax process means the process was 
lost and rediscovered. Rather it simply 
means that the wax is lost in the process. 

"The huaca and I are one," Harte 
says, but it is neither the search for, nor 
the finding of the golden treasures, nor 
the scientist's successful pursuit of 
knowledge, that challenges and gratifies 
him most. It is telling the story of the 
"golden huaca" of Panama to school 

In his introduction, he presents a 
challenge: "The mythology of these 
golden artifacts will test your skill and 
imagination. For what man living today 
can understand their meaning, and how 
many conclusions can be drawn from 
these golden effigies of over 1,000 years 
ago?" The huacas that were buried in 
Indian graves to accompany the dead 
on their journey to another life are the 
characters in a tale Harte weaves for 
the children. The warrior, the storm 
god, the north wind, the frog, alligator 
and eagle all take part in the adventures 
of a brave warrior who receives a mortal 
wound in combat and must make the 
long and dangerous journey to the valley 
of the gods. The warrior's spirit is given 
seven tests to complete within 28 davs 
if he is to gain entrance into the land 
of the rainbow, eternal wine and honey. 
He must conquer by wit or battle the 
alligator god, tiger god, the gods of 
hunger, fever, sickness and the storm. 
He is guided and aided by the gods of 
the winds and the golden frog and the 
great white crane. Finally, his perilous 
journev over, he is welcomed bv the 
Great North Wind to the land of ever- 
lasting happiness. 

These mythological stories over, 
Harte tells real adventure stories— his 

The letters he receives from the young 
students amaze him with their insight 
and understanding. 

One little fourth-grade girl saw 
bevond the folk story. She summed up 
in her letter: "I'm glad you kept some 
things secret and encouraged us to be 
archeologists. But I don't think you kept 
too many things secret. I think you gave 
awav just enough to make it kind of mys- 
terious. I think that huacas are like a 
big mvstery just sitting there waiting 
to be solved." 

Fall 1973 

Neville Harte heats the tip of 

a welding instrument as he prepares 

to attach a pin to a huaca. 

Reconstruction of steps followed 
in casting a bird huaca by Dudley 
T. Easby, Jr. Drawings by Elizabeth 
K. Easby, reprinted from "Natural 
History Magazine." 

A. This rough core, m.idc of clay mixrd C. The casting will be done in an invert- 
wilh charcoal, "ill be broken up and re- cd position. Before enveloping the model 
moved after casting, leaving the pine in clay, a cone of wax is added to pro- 
hollow inside Tins saves gold and also vide a pouring channel. And four wax 
permits the making of hollow vessels. rods have been added to provide air 

vents when the metal is poured in. 

Trimming the wax mold before 
it is cast is one of the many steps 
necessary in producing a huaca. 

B. The rough core is first covered with a 
uniform coating of wax. The eyes, tal- 
ons, suspension rings under the bill, and 
decorative holes have been added in the 
form of wax threads. The founder fin- 
ishes the details on the wax model with 
sharp tools. The three black bars are the 
pegs to keep the core from slipping out 
of position during the work. 

D. This drawing represents a section 
through the mold after the wax model 
has been melted out. The colored portion 
shows where the gold will flow between 
the shell and the core. It will rise into the 
air vents to form rods that will be later 
cut off and burnished. The core is finally 
broken and removed through the hollow 
bill and the holes in the breast and the 
back of the perch. 

Spencer Winstead, of Ancon, 
one of nine apprentices trained 
by Harte, learns how to attach wax 
filigree work to the main mold. 

The Panama Canal Review 

By Vic Canel 

sandwich or a Pilon hamburger, or 
seen Ramona's rolling pin bounce off 
Paneho's head? 

Sure you have, if you've ever fol- 
lowed the funnies. But you probablv 
know the characters as Dagwood, 
Wimpy, Maggie and Jiggs. 

In the Spanish version, not onlv the 
names, but the onomatopoeia of the 
comics is different. Maggie's rolling pin 
goes PUM instead of CONK and the 
THUD of Jiggs hitting the deck is 

In the phonetics of the funnies, a 
Spanish-speaking dog says GUAU 
GUAU, while in English it'sARF ARF. 
When the doorbell or phone rings, it's 
cially prolonged ring would be TIN- 

In manv of the strips, however, where 

"Gooc/ Grief, Carlitos, 
Snoopy Speaks Spanish!" 

the onomatopoeia is an integral part of 
the overall design of the panel, it is not 
translated. As a result, comic book afi- 
cionados, who read Batman, Superman 
and manv of the other adventure comics 
in Spanish have added to their vocabu- 
lary such words as ZONK, ZOOM, 

Though comics as such originated in 
Europe some 80 years ago, develop- 
ment of many of the techniques, such 
as the "balloon" and much of the par- 
ticular symbolism of the comics, took 
place in the United States. 

Children almost everywhere know 
that a saw cutting through a log over 
a character's head, or a series of Z's 
mean that he's asleep. A swirl of stars 
and other celestial bodies about his 
head means he has just received a blow 
and is seeing stars, while a picture of 
an electric light bulb signifies that the 

' United Feature Syndicate 

character has just seen the light or 
thought of a brilliant idea. 

A series of exclamation and interroga- 
tion marks interspersed with amper- 
sands, asterisks, stars and other assorted 
symbols indicates profanity in anv lan- 
guage. The reader is expected to use 
his imagination in filling in the unprint- 
able words in his own tongue and his 
own choice of epithets. 

Such symbolism is very much in 
evidence in comic strips such as the 
Katzenjammer Kids, originally pub- 
lished December 12, 1897, in the New 
York Journal. Later named Los Pilluelos 
(The Little Rascals) in Spanish, the 
strip was the creation of Rudolph Dirks. 

When Dirks left Randolph Hearst's 
paper and tried to take the strip with 
him, the case was taken to court. The 
final settlement did not come until 1912, 
when the court ruled that Dirks had a 



< K nit; Features Syndicate 

Fall 1973 

I Hall Syndicate 

right to draw the characters he had 
created, but the title of the strip 
remained Hearst property. Hearst 
promptly hired Harold Knerr to draw 
the Katzenjammer Kids, while Dirks 
continued using the same format and 
characters under the new title. The Cap- 
tain and the Kids. So far as is known, 
this is the onlv comic strip ever to have 
been published in two separate versions. 

There is an interesting sociological 
phenomenon in the fact that Blondie 
(Pepita in Spanish) and Dagwood, a 
typically middle class American couple 
are at the top of the popularity scale in 
Latin America, where life styles are so 
very different. One cannot help but 
wonder how a character like Dagwood, 
abused bv his boss, Mr. Dithers (Sefior 
Fernandez in Spanish), henpecked and 
outsmarted bv his wife Blondie, has 
managed to be a success in a land where 
"machismo" is the thing. 

Dagwood was not always middle 
class. His father, a railroad tycoon, was 
a billionaire. But Dagwood was cut off 
without a penny of the Bumstead 

In Spanish when 
the Cap'n of the 
Kids snoozes, it is 
not "z-z-z" but 
"b-z-z" and 
Dennis' dog never 
savs "bow wow." 

billions because he married the flighty 
Blondie despite family opposition. Of 
course, that was before the strip, which 
appeared for the first time in the New 
York American on September 15, 1930, 
was widely syndicated and became 
popular in Latin America. So, for 
Spanish-speaking readers, Chic Young's 
character Lorenzo has always been a 
working class family man. Incidentally, 
Bumstead in Spanish is "Parachoques" 
which means bumper. 

The first American comic strip to 
appear in Spanish, according to the 
records, is Ceorge McManus' creation. 
Bringing up Father (Educando a Papa) . 
King Features sold it to papers in Bue- 
nos Aires, Havana and Mexico about 
50 years ago. Pancho and Ramona's 
dialogue was translated into Spanish bv 
the papers that published the strip until 
King Features established its foreign 
department in 1928 and began to do all 
translations at its New York head- 

With some exceptions, the names of 
comic strip characters in Spanish turn 

out to be entirely different from and not 
direct translations of English versions. 
A notable example is Charles M. 
Schultz' very popular Peanuts, distrib- 
uted by United Feature Syndicate. In 
Spanish, the strip is not called mani 
(peanuts), as one might reasonably 
expect, but Rabanitos, which means 
little radishes. In Mexico and some 
other countries, the strip is known as 
"Carlitos" (obviously for Charlie Brown). 

Among the pioneers of U.S. comics, 
and indeed the man who has been 
credited with developing the strip tech- 
nique as it is known today, was the late 
H. C. (Bud) Fisher, creator of Mutt 
and Jeff. They are known in Latin 
America as Benitin (Jeff) y Eneas (Mutt). 
Evidently, whoever translated their 
names gave Jeff top billing simplv be- 
cause it sounds better than Eneas v 
Benitin. This is ironic, since Mutt started 
out as the solo star of the strip when it 
appeared for the first time in the San 
Francisco Chronicle of November 15, 

Soon after its appearance the strip 

Known as Los Pica Piedra (the stone choppers, rock splitters?), the Flintstones are popular in Panama. Fred is Pedro and Barney 
is Enano (midget). "Knock knock" comes out "toe toe" in Spanish. 

@SA tVOCNS . . . fj\c?<2Ug T£ P/?XeC£ ZODRIGOj a ma 

< H.tnna Barbera Productions 

The Panama Canal Review 

El Pato Donald 

El Raton Miguelito 

moved to the San Francisco Examiner, 
where Jeff made his debut on March 29, 
1908. Mr. Augustus Mutt, as he was 
called, was on a visit to a mental institu- 
tion where the inmates were about to 
reenact a scene from a real life trial that 
was taking place in San Francisco at the 
time. Just then an insignificant little 
runt by the name of Jeffries happened 
to walk into the room and was promptly 
pinned to the wall by the inmates. 

Mr. Mutt rescued him from his plight, 
shortened his name to Jeff and made 
him his protege. 

Now drawn by Al Smith and dis- 
tributed by McNaught Syndicate, Be- 
nitin y Eneas is still just as popular 
as ever. 

Another of the perennially popular 
comic strip characters of old is Popeve, 
pronounced Poh-peh-yeh in Spanish. 
Unlike Jiggs and Dagwood, whose 
comic appeal lav in the area of domestic 
tribulations, Popeve emerged as a 
strong, independent he-man tvpe. 

He first appeared in the New York 
Evening Journal on January 27, 1929, 
as an additional character in the strip 
called "Thimble Theatre," created bv 
Elzie Crisler Segar. Preceding Popeve 

© Walt Disney Productions 

among the players of the "Theatre" 
were Olive Oyle, who in later years was 
to be known to the Spanish speaking 
world as Rosario, and her brother, 
Castor. Shortly afterward came ham- 
burger-hound Wimpy (Pilon in Latin 
America), and still later came crawling 
across the panel Popeye's adopted baby 
son, little Swee'pea, known to Spanish 
speaking readers as Cocoliso (Smooth 

For many years, Popeye's super- 
human feats after ingesting a can of 
strength giving spinach have been used 
as a shining example bv mothers in many 
lands to induce children to eat their 

While retaining the element of humor, 
Popeve was probablv the forerunner of 
the more serious adventure strips in 
which the featured character was a 
strong, intrepid hero— an image to evoke 
admiration and not laughter. 

Among the earlv adventure comics— 
and still very popular— was Edgar 
Rice Burrough's Tarzan, first drawn by 
Harold Foster. The simultaneous ap- 
pearance of Tarzan and Buck Rogers on 
January 7, 1929, marked the beginning 
of the straight adventure stories in the 

© \EA Service 

comics. Drawn by illustrators rather than 
cartoonists, these strips were based on 
stories written for the popular pulp 
trade. Edgar Rice Burrough's story 
"Tarzan of the Apes" first appeared in 
1914 and was followed by many other 
Tarzan adventures. Buck Rogers was 
based on stories written for the science 
fiction magazines by Philip Nowlan and 
were drawn by Dick Calkins. 

Tarzan (pronounced Tar-SAN in 
Spanish) still stands among the most 
popular adventure comics in Latin 
America, along with Mandrake the 
Magician, the Phantom and Superman. 
While Superman is still Superman in 
Spanish, the Phantom is called by the 
literal Spanish translation of his name, 
El Fantasma. 

The list of adventure comics which 
made their debut during the 1930's is 
lengthy. In 1931, when the law was 
finally catching up with Al Capone and 
he was on the verge of being sent to 
Alcatraz, came Chester Gould's Dick 
Tracv, still the top crime fighter in the 
comic strip world. 

During the month of January 1934, 
King Features Syndicate launched three 
new adventure strips in rapid succes- 
sion—Secret Agent X-9, a police adven- 
ture strip; Jungle Jim, obviously de- 
signed to compete with Tarzan; and 
Flash Gordon, King Features' answer to 
Buck Rogers' space age adventures. All 
three were drawn by one of the most 
versatile artists of his time, Alex 

In October 1934, a young artist 
whose distinctive style was to be imitated 
by other comic strip authors, in the fol- 
lowing years launched his famous Terry 
and the Pirates. Milton Caniff was 
amons the first artists to introduce 


Fall 1973 

cinematographic composition into the 
comics. Working with brush and pen, 
he achieved striking lighting effects, 
made use of close-ups and violent black 
and white contrasts. 

While many of the humorous comic 
characters have completely different 
names in Spanish, adventure comic 
heroes are known to Spanish speaking 
readers by their English names, or a 
rough Spanish equivalent. Thus, Milton 
CanifFs Terry and the Pirates translates 
to Terri y los Piratas, while Charles 
Flander's Lone Ranger is called El 
Llanero Solitario (The Lone Plainsman). 

The demand for variety in comics 
during the thirties was great. News- 
papers began to call on magazine car- 
toonists to put their characters in strip 
form. Among these was Otto Soglow's 
Little King (El Reyecito in Spanish), 
which had been published as a single 
panel feature in the New Yorker. Papers 
also borrowed from animated cartoons. 
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse (El Raton 
Miguelito), created in 1928, broke into 
the newspaper comic strips in 1931 and 
was followed later by Donald Duck, who 
is called El Pato Donald in Panama, 
but is known in some other Latin Amer- 
ican countries as El Pato Pascual. Goofv, 
by the way, is known to the Spanish 
speaking world as Tribilin. 

Another comic character who was to 
gain popularity in Latin America under 
the unlikely name of Trucutu was Vince 
Hamlin's prehistoric man, Alley Oop, 
born in 1934. 

World War II brought a great change 
in the character of adventure comics. 
Nearly all of them became involved in 
fighting the enemv. If not as members 
of the Armed Forces, like Terrv, who 
became a pilot in the Air Force, thev 
fought enemy agents and saboteurs on 
the home front, like Dick Tracy. 

Early in the war Milton Caniff was 
asked to create a comic strip designed 
to bolster GI morale. The result was a 
strip called Male Call, featuring a curva- 
ceous, scantillv clad heroine called 
Miss Lace. 

The war also produced other new 
strips, such as Sad Sack, the creation of 
Sgt. George Baker. Sad Sack was the 
personification of the poor slob destined 
to do all the dirty details. 

Another satire of military life came 
later with the appearance of Mort 
Walker's Beetle Bailey in 1950. Though 
also abused by his sergeant, Beetle, 
unlike the uncomplaining Sad Sack, is a 
crafty goldbricker. 

Among post war comics that have 
gained popularity in Latin America are 
Dennis the Menace, by Hank Ketcham, 
which made its appearance in 1951. In 
Spanish the impish terror is called 
Daniel el Travieso (Daniel the naughty). 
A more recent addition to the comic 
strip scene in Latin America is Dick 
Browne's hard fighting Viking, Haggar 
the Horrible, known to his Spanish 
speaking fans as Olafo el Amargado 
(Olaf the Bitter). This strip must be a 
challenge to translators, since at least 
in one recent installment which ap- 
peared in La Estrella de Panama, 
Haggar spoke all of his lines in verse. 

Translators also must be careful in 
their choice of words, since syndicates 
distribute to all Spanish speaking coun- 
tries and the meaning of certain words 
may differ from country to country. 
A perfectly good word in Panama, for 
example, may be offensive in Argentina 
or Uruguay. 

One syndicate representative recalls 

an incident which had Panama readers 
calling the paper to protest the use of 
an unprintable Spanish appelative for 
prostitute. In the Spanish version of 
Tillie the Toiler, she is Cuquita la Meca- 
nografa (the typist). The strip, which 
used to appear in La Estrella de Pan- 
ama, one day included the word RUTA 
(Route). But when it appeared in the 
paper, the "R" had lost its descender 
and was converted into a "P". The 
newspaper relayed the protests to the 
syndicate and complained bitterly about 
the embarrassing situation in which it 
had found itself. But the syndicate 
produced proofs and tearsheets from 
other newspapers which had carried the 
same strip, showing that it had appeared 

Further investigation proved that the 
"R" had been purposely modified as a 
parting shot by a disgruntled shop em- 
ployee at La Estrella who had been 
given notice of dismissal. 

Haggar the 
Horrible rhymes 
in either language 
when he says: 
"Every day seems 
like Sunday in 
July . . . and it 
makes the Vikings 



George Baker 
probably should 
have used a boa or 
a fer-de-lance in 
this Sad Sack 
scene, since rattlers 
would be a rarity 
in Panama. 


The Panama Canal Review 

i — Don Winslow Saves the Panama Canal 

for an insidious enemy spy, called Scorpia, very nearly 
blew up the Panama Canal in 1952. But they did not 
reckon with the cunning of Comdr. Don Winslow, a veteran 
U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer. 

Don Winslow of the Navy was the title of a successful 
adventure strip created by a real life Naval Intelligence 
Officer called F. V. Martinek. The author served in the 
Navy during World War I, then spent 4 years with the 
FBI. So he was a stickler for authenticity. 

In the Panama Canal adventure, for example, which ran 
for nearly 3 months in the daily strip, he included some 
characters from real life. One of the first contacts made by 
the fictional Don Winslow upon his arrival in Panama was 
with Capt. W. S. Parsons, USN, who actually was Captain 
of the Port of Cristobal at the time. 

A later sequence finds Winslow greeting his old friend Luis 
Noli, of the Star & Herald, an English language news- 
paper which carried the dailv strip at that time. 

Noli recalls that the late President Jose Antonio Remon, 

In the September 24 strip the scene switches to the 
enemy agents in Panama with Red Hawk saying to Banana 
Hawk; ". . . we still need a short time to perfect our plans." 

The next installment shows Winslow meeting with Port 
Captain Parsons. Their conversation is interrupted when a 
West Indian by the name of Reginald reports that he saw 
a mysterious man sending a radio message from one of the 
tunnels at Fort San Lorenzo. As Reginald leads the officers 
to the tunnel where he saw the man, he stops short of the 
entrance when he spots a fer-de-lance snake. Winslow 
immediately surmises that the snake was planted there to 
keep out intruders. After disposing of the snake, Winslow 
and his partv approach the cave and eavesdrop on the 

It is revealed that they plan to blow up Gatun Dam and 
the bridge at Gamboa, simultaneously. Pointing to a map, 
one of the enemy says "this is Gatun Dam. It spans the 
northern and lower end of a deep valley through which 
the Chagres River formerly flowed to the sea." And in the 
next panel: "Behind the dam is Gatun Lake, covering 165 

DON \f INSLO W - M< nilif r or Ihr I'rcs. 

I KNEW you'd want 

Bv Frank V. Martin. V 



who was a follower of adventure comics, one day greeted 
him at a presidential press conference with: "Hey Noli, 
I saw you in Don Winslow of the Navy this morning!" 

Martinek had met Noli and Captain Parsons during a 
research trip to Panama and decided to make them a part 
of the sequence for added realism. 

The first installment in the storv of the attempted sabo- 
tage of the Panama Canal appeared in the Star & Herald 
of August 31, 1952. The scene opens with Winslow in a 
confidential conversation with his commanding officer. In 
the next panel an informer is caught eavesdropping at the 
door. Upon questioning, he reveals Scorpia's plot to sabo- 
tage the Canal and indicates that the enemy spy network 
extends from New Orleans to the Canal Zone. 

During a brief stop in New Orleans before flying to 
Panama, enemy agents attacked and seriously injured Red 
Pennington, one of Winslow's assistants. He then decides 
to recruit another naval intelligence officer, Ross Pizzitola, 
as a replacement for Pennington in the Panama operation. 

Pizzitola, it happens, is aboard a ship called the SS Chi- 
riqui, which is en route to Cristobal, but still a long way 
from the Isthmus. So Don Winslow overtakes the ship and 
lands his helicopter on deck to pick up his new assistant. 

square miles. It is clear that if our plan works, all the water 
will pour into the sea, draining the Panama Canal." 

Don Winslow reports the plot to the police commissioner, 
identified as Colonel Somar. As he is leaving he encounters 
newsman Luis Noli. (See above.) 

Saboteurs in frogman suits went out in two launches 
and attached charges to the dam and to the bridge. Mean- 
while, Winslow hovered above the launch at the dam, 
where he ordered the saboteurs to jump into the water or 
be blown up themselves. Parsons in another helicopter 
blew up the saboteurs' launch as it attempted to detonate 
the charge at the bridge. 

Once the would be saboteurs were dealt with, Winslow 
headed back to Fort San Lorenzo to capture the ringleaders, 
who had heard the explosion and assumed that their nefari- 
ous mission had been a success. They were celebrating 
their victory with round after round of toasts when Wins- 
low's men threw a grenade into the entrance and stormed 
in and arrested them. 

The Panama adventure ends with a celebration dinner 
in Panama, where an unidentified official thanks Winslow 
"for saving the belt that links the Americas in their fight 
for peace." 


Fai.l 1973 




Recalling, perhaps, the grandeur of balseria in times gone by, this Guaymi in 
his holiday hat and tiger-tooth collar epitomizes the valor of his Indian nation 
that was not vanquished by the conquistadores. 

By Jose T. Tunon 
The Panama Canal Review 11 

about to go on stage are given en- 
couragement by fellow performers 
with the expression "Break a leg!" 

But when the Guaymi Indians of 
western Panama play the game of bal- 
seria— a sort of choreographed mayhem 
in which the players hop to the rhythm 
of primitive instruments while hurling 
balsa poles at their opponent's legs— 
the words are taken quite literally. 

This unique game, enjoyed by the 
Guavmi for hundreds of years, is still 
the big event of the year for the present 
day aborigines of Panama's Chiriqui, 
Bocas del Toro and Veraguas provinces. 

More than merely a game, the un- 
usual contest provides participants 
with a 3-day festival as well as a tradi- 
tional wav of settling disputes. A bal- 
seria also may be organized to test the 
physical agilitv and courage of various 

groups or certain individuals, or simply 
to enhance the prestige of the man who 
has organized it. 

The sport was first mentioned bv 
Friar Adrian de Santo Tomas who lived 
among the Guaymi between 1622 and 
1637, and described it as one of the few 
amusements they had. More than 300 
vears later, Panamanian anthropologist 
Dr. Reina Torres de Arauz said, "Balse- 
ria continues tn be played the same way 
as described bv the missionary who saw 
it in action several times in the 1620's." 

To better understand the role of bal- 
seria in the life of the Guaymi, one 
must comprehend their way of life, 
customs, the ruggedness of the area in 
which thev live and their tenacious fight 
for freedom and superiority. 

Each family, or group of families. 
lives in virtual isolation in large bohios 
nestled in mountain clearings, protected 

Contestants take turns throwing the 
long thin sticks of balsa at each 
other's legs. 

bv fences of big tree trunks, which fre- 
quently root and grow into enormous 

As a rule, when a daughter marries, 
the husband comes to live with her 
family. Another bohio (thatched roof 
hut) is built near the large family bohio 
and as other daughters wed a "caserio" 
or village is formed. 

The isolation of the Guaymi is more 
pronounced during the rainv season 
when the flooding rivers of Veraguas 
and Chiriqui make travel difficult. Dur- 
ing this period women stav indoors and 
their social life is greatly restricted. 
Thev seldom leave the confines of their 

But dry season is another matter. It 
is the season to be happv, to renew 
acquaintances, to visit one's neighbors. 
It is the time for a balseria, to get to- 
gether for a good time, to catch up on 
all the news and to have a few drinks 
. . . sometimes quite a few. 

At one Balseria there were 
14 broken legs, 2 men suffered 
fractures of both legs, and more 
than 40 had cuts and bruises. 

However, not everyone can organize 
a balseria, for it is, above all, a contest 
of superiority and physical aptitudes. 
It is proof of solvency and of the re- 
spect and esteem that the majority of 
inhabitants have for the organizer of 
the balseria. 

A Guaymi without these qualifica- 
tions need not waste his time trying to 
hold a balseria. "In reality, balseria is 
the last in a series of steps by which a 
man achieves great importance in 
Guaymi society," said Dr. Philip Young, 
in his book, "Traditions and Changes 
of Western Guavmis of Panama." 

When a man feels that he is ready 
to sponsor a balseria, he first makes 
sure that he has the full support of his 
family and relatives, because one man 
alone cannot bear the expense of food 
and drink that the guests will consume 
during the 3 davs of the balseria, which 
could bring together as many as 2,000 

Great Quantities of Food 

Great quantities of food and "chicha" 
(a strong drink made from fermented 
corn), to fortifv the contestants and 
guests, are prepared well in advance. 
Cattle and pigs are slaughtered; women 
work hard preparing mountains of rice 
and other treats for the big party. 

Preparations begin about 4 months 
before the festivities. As soon as the 
sponsor is sure of the cooperation of 
his relatives, and that he really qualifies 
as a "balsero," he sends an invitation 
by messenger to an important man of 
another district. The messenger carries 
a knotted string, the knots indicating 
the number of days remaining before 
the balseria. If the opponent accepts, 
he sends his own messenger back to 
the sponsor with a similar knotted 
string. Each dav a knot is cut from the 
string until it is time to travel to the 
area where the balseria will be held. 
The invitation is sent about 3 months 
in advance. 

Members of the sponsoring side cut 
the balsa sticks 2 or 3 months before 
the event so thev will be light and dry 
for the balseria. The sticks are 5 to 6 

feet long, about 3 inches in diameter 
on one end, 2 inches in diameter on 
the other end, and rounded at both 
ends. The wood of the balsa tree, which 
is common in many parts of Panama, 
is used because although very heavy 
and spongy when wet, it is very light 
but tough and strong when dried. 

According to Rev. Ephraim Alphonse, 
who is well versed on the subject, about 
2 weeks before the event it is customary 
for the Guavmi of Bocas del Toro to 
blow on their conch shells, whose 
blasts echo through the mountains and 
valleys, informing the challenger, "I 
am ready to defeat you," and back 
across the mountain comes the sound 
of the defender's conch shell, saving 
"Come on, I am ready." 

As often occurs at big parties, there 
are spectators and gate crashers, who 
unlike their counterparts in modern 
society, bring their own food and drink. 
Of course, the number of guests de- 
pends upon the prestige, fame, and 
affluence of the sponsor of the balseria. 
Dressed in their verv best, they come 
from all over the mountains, the men 
wearing beaded collars (chaquiras), if 
thev have them, the women in their 
Mother Hubbards, colored combs and 
ribbons in their hair and numerous 
strings of beads around their necks. 
There is an air of festivity throughout 
the mountains as thev head for the lla- 
no, the clearing where the balseria is 
to be held. Thev bring ocarinas, flutes 
of bone, and other musical instruments 
made of steer horns, turtle shells, and 
various kinds of wood. 

According to eyewitnesses, the first 
day of balseria is devoted to setting up 
campsites and social intermingling. The 
women and girls busv themselves serv- 
ing food and chicha to the guests. 
There is much eating and drinking. 
Everybody is happv and the party lasts 
until the wee hours of the morning, 
when it is time to start the balseria. 
Meanwhile, the balsa sticks have been 
guarded all night to make sure they are 
not touched before they are used. 

The game begins with the opponent 
leader throwing the first stick at the 


Fall 1973 

A typical abode of the Guaymi in Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro provinces. When 
a daughter marries, the family gains a male member and another "bohio" is built 
close to the big family "bohio." 

Bedecked in holiday finery, including 
a feather in his hat and a king-size 
chaquira covering his shoulders, this 
Guaymi child watches a game of balseria. 

Using a primitive mortar and pestle, a Guaymi mother and daughter remove chaff 
from the rice that will be consumed by those attending the balseria. 

With an ocelot as proof of his hunting 
prowess, this Guaymi heads for a balseria. 

The Panama Canal Review 13 

A mannequin with painted face, bird 
feathers in his hat, wearing his very best 
and holding a balsa stick, represents a 
Guaymi ready to participate in balseria. 
The conch shell hanging at his right 
side is used to send blasts that echo far 
off through the mountains and valleys 
of Chiriqui. 

I All photographs are from a recent dis- 
play at the Panama National Museum). 

sponsor, who in turn throws at the op- 
ponent. Amid the shouting and cheer- 
ing of the spectators, balseria is off to 
a shin skinning start. 

After the first two initiate the game, 
all the men take part, as teams or as 
individuals. Holding the stick near the 
ends at chest level, the contestant 
throws it at his opponent who has his 
back turned to the thrower, trying to 
look over his shoulder and guessing 
when to leap out of the way of the stick. 
If the opponent is still standing, he then 
throws the stick at his rival. The game 
goes on accompanied by music, sing- 
ing and shouts of encouragement from 
the spectators. As many as 150 teams 
mav be competing, throwing sticks and 
aiming for legs below the knee. There 
are hits and misses, and frequent acci- 
dents with other parts of the bodv re- 
ceiving the brunt of the hurtling stick. 
The player's aim usually deteriorates in 
direct relation to the flow of the potent 
chicha, which is passed around gener- 
ouslv. As is to be expected, there are 
numerous casualties. According to Dr. 
Luis Carlos Prieto, well known for his 
work among the Indians and one of the 
first outsiders to see a real balseria, 
there were 14 broken legs, 2 with 
fractures of both legs and more than 
40 with cuts and bruises at an event 
he attended. 

Music, Singing and Chicha 

The competition continues with mu- 
sic, singing, and chicha for 2 davs as 
long as there are men able to throw 
the sticks. 

On the third day, there is visiting and 
bartering. If there is anv chicha left, 
it is consumed and preparations are 
made for the trip back home. 

Bright and early on the fourth morn- 
ing, the Guaymi start the trek back to 
their villages taking with them food 
enough for the journey and the glorious 
memories of a great leg-smashing con- 
test. Some men may be returning home 
with more women than thev brought 
with them as some women opt to leave 
their mates for more valiant ones. 

Composed of some 43,000 people, 
the Guaymi are the largest of the Pan- 
amanian Indian nations and thev still 
maintain much of the daring and cour- 
age they were noted for during the 
Spanish conquest when their chiefs 
faced the Spaniards and beat them 
badly despite their horses and superior 

Before the discoverv of America, 
their domain extended across the Isth- 
mus from sea to sea but gradually thev 
were pushed bv the conquistadores, and 
those that followed, toward the moun- 

tains which served them as fortresses. 
The Guaymi have been known 
throughout Isthmian historv for their 
valor and particularly well known was 
their famous chief, Urraca, once lord 
and master over all the land that is 
todav the Province of Veraguas. After 
defeating the Spaniards several times, 
he was captured and taken in chains 
to Nombre de Dios and from there to 
Spain where he was displayed as a war 
prisoner. But he managed to escape 
and return to the Isthmus where he 
assembled a sizeable army and inflicted 
upon the invaders the greatest defeat 
they ever suffered in Central America. 

Signed Peace Pact 

After this battle, which took place 
near Nata de los Caballeros, Capt. Die- 
go de Albitez signed a peace treaty 
with Urraca. He was the only aborigine 
of the New World with whom a cap- 
tain of the Spanish Empire signed a 
peace pact. 

Later betraved by the invaders, 
Urraca again fought them, employing 
guerrilla tactics, a type of warfare un- 
known to the Spaniards. After suffer- 
ing heavy losses, the Spaniards decided 
to leave him in peace and Urraca died 
in 1531, in his bohio, of natural causes. 

Referring to the Guaymi in "An 
Archeological Studv of Central Amer- 
ica," Dr. Samuel K. Lothrop states, "In 
the opinion of main', the natives of Ve- 
raguas should be ranked with the fa- 
mous Araucanians of Chile as the out- 
standing fighters of the New World, a 
judgment shared bv the Spaniards who 
had served in both regions. The Arau- 
canians had the advantage of rapidlv 
mastering cavalry tactics under great 
leaders and learning how to make 
leather armor; the Indians of Veraguas, 
on account of their rugged country, 
forced the Spaniards to fight on foot." 

A Cherished Tradition 

A cherished tradition of the valiant 
Guavmi. then as now, was the fierce 
balseria. But in 1962, the Mama Chichi 
cult appeared in the mountains of Ve- 
raguas and Chiriqui, led bv a "prophet- 
ess" known as Mama Chichi, bringing 
changes in the moral and social code of 
the Guavmi. Included in the quasi- 
mysterious new social order was the 
banning of balseria. 

But Mama Chichi died in 1964 and 
her reforms were short lived. Balseria 
once again is a part of the Guavmi wav 
of life and according to Dr. Reina de 
Arauz. "All indications are that the 
traditional force of balseria will triumph 
and it will continue to be a sport with 
ritual character and social importance." 


Fall 1973 

both good for the ecology. 

And although air on the Isthmus is 
virtually pollution free, many ecology- 
minded residents are helping to keep it 
that way while pedaling pounds awav. 

With the price of gas going up and 
fuel shortages looming, many local res- 
idents are finding they can save money, 
lose excess weight and fight pollution 
if thev leave their automobiles at home. 

Bicycles are back and 10 speeds are 
all the rage. Canal Zone retail stores 
report that bicvcle sales have increased 
more than six-fold in the last 2 years. 
In 1971, they sold 330 bikes. Last year 
the figure was up to 2, 122 and this year's 
Christmas sales are expected to put the 
1973 figure well above that. 

Also making their appearance on the 
local scene are the new "trikes," the 
adult three-wheelers that manv find ideal 
for shopping. And they're easy to park. 

Doctors recommend bicycling for 
good health. Some even practice it them- 
selves, as evidenced by one of the pic- 
tures on these pages. Even police patrols 
are using bicycles on their nocturnal 

A favorite spot for bicycle enthusiasts 
in the Canal Zone is the Fort Amador 
causeway, where serious cyclers can 
test their 10-speeds on a long straight- 
away or pause to watch the weekend 
fishermen wet their lines, or look at the 
ships as they enter or leave the Pacific 
end of the Canal. 

And while sitting on the banks of the 
Canal one can even see bicycles moving 
about the decks of transiting ships. Deck 
officers on large container ships, where 
the space between bridge and bow is 
more than 2 acres, have found bikes 
convenient for making their rounds. 

The popularity of bicycles among 
Americans seems to rise and fall with 
changing times, while remaining con- 
stant among Europeans who have always 
paid a higher price for fuel. In Latin 
America, on the other hand, few adults 
seem to ride bicvcles except in races. 

The present surge in the popularity 
of cycling, along with the recycling of 
many products is, as we have noted, 
closely related to the new ecology con- 
sciousness, which has caused changes in 
the packaging of materials, the man- 
ufacture of detergent, and changes in 
other areas of industry. One mail order 

Framed by her bicycle, 
Wisia Kaliszczak cools off 
after a long ride to the end of 
the Fort Amador causeway. 

The Panama Canal Review 


' v -s|P^ 




1 1 


.-..> . 

" ''"'-'.'" 

Bicycles have always been a favorite form of transportation with Canal Zone children, as demonstrated by these students at Los Rios 
Elementary School, but the recent surge in popularity is affecting all ages. Scenes around the Isthmus show Dr. Roberto Ocana 
taking his young son, Roberto Jose, for a ride around Ancon; Mrs. Ella K. Beck returning home from a shopping trip on her tricycle; 
Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Lake out for a ride along the Fort Amador causeway; Roseana Winford on her unicycle; and Police Officer 
John V. Brown taking a call on his radio as he sets out on night patrol. 

company is even offering a unique 
calendar in which every page can be 
recycled in one way or another. The 
page corresponding to the month of 
January, for example, is edible. 

But back to bicycles. Lately, tbey loo 
have been the subject of discussion in 
connection with another of the great 


issues of our times— the fight against 
sexual discrimination. 

In a letter to the editor in a recent 
issue of Ms. magazine, a male reader 
who also happens to be an engineer, 
reports that he made a study of women's 
bicycles and found them inferior to 
men's. Women's bikes have traditionally 
been built with an open "U" frame for 
the benefit of the rider who wears a 
skirt, the reader points out. But upon 

testing women's-style bikes, he reports 
that he found that most were "not as 
certain and sure for steering as men's 
and not as fast, either." 

The writer says he made inquiries of 
several of the large bicycle manufac- 
turers and none would admit that 
women's bikes had a built-in putdown. 
Some of the engineering people did 
suggest, however, that men's bikes had 
seen many more subtle improvements 
over the years because 10 times as 
many were sold. 

Happily, however, he reports that 
women's bikes are now being improved 
in the matter of balance, angle of the 
front wheel fork and other character- 

Perhaps the best answer for complete 
equality in the age of unisex fashions 
is the unicycle. 

With the ever increasing number of 
bicycles on the road, Canal Zone Police 
are intensifying their safety campaigns 
with films and lectures on safe biking 
practices. They are also enforcing traffic 
regulations, which are the same for 
cyclists as for motorists. 

So far, there is no record of a cyclist 
receiving a speeding ticket, but it can 
happen. Some motorists have already 
reported being outdistanced by a 10- 
speed in a 25 m.p.h. zone and even in 
a 40 m.p.h. zone. Of course, the motor- 
ists did not report how fast they were 


Fall 1973 

■ ^ 



# ' ^^ f ' * 

"* ft * 

3iM i'l l ate" 



./^ -*&>' 


feflfl^&BfrfNn '< 

J 1 


fi^^ gpa fl^fg ^? 

Jlo6poe yTpo and JXo CBHrjam>H 

—Just two of the words you will learn if you choose to cruise 
with the Russians on their new trans-Atlantic service from 
New York to Leningrad. These words, which are written in 
the Cyrillic alphabet of the Russian language, are pronounced 
DAW-bruh-yeh OO-truh and duh sv'i-DAH-n'uh. They mean 
"good morning" and "so long" in English. 

The language is only one of the intriguing things about the 
trip. Like the intricately painted wooden eggs that Russians 
give each other at Easter— nested inside each other and grow- 
ing more interesting as they grow smaller— so each day on the 
Soviet ship M S Lcrmontov revealed more and more fascinat- 
ing facets of the Russian culture. 

Although vessels of the Soviet Union, including passenger 
ships, are a familiar sight at the Panama Canal, the M/S Ler- 
montov, with the hammer and sickle emblazoned on her red 
and white funnel, caused quite a stir when she came into port 
in New York this past summer. 

The sleek new ship is the first Soviet cruise liner to call at 
a United States port in 25 years. 

A result of a recent trade agreement between the United 
States and the Soviet Union, this new service gives Americans 
an opportunity to sample Russian food and culture, and, for 
those who go all the wav to Leningrad, a chance to see the 
city that has been called "the Venice of the North," take a 
quick side trip to Moscow to visit the historic Kremlin, and 
still make the return voyage on the ship. 

The Russians are planning to help fill the void left by the 
demise of the great trans-Atlantic cruise ships, but they are not 
attempting to compete with the SS France and the Cunard's 
Queen Elizabeth II, the sole survivors of the regular trans- 
Atlantic service, in speed or size. They are, instead, concen- 
trating on providing leisurelv, friendly ambience, and enter- 
tainment with a Russian flavor, including nightly shows of 
classical ballet, Russian folk dancing, and opera, all performed 
by an extraordinarily talented young crew. 

REGULAR CUSTOMERS-The Soviet cruise liner, "Shota Rustaveli," sister ship of the "Lermontov," is tied up at the Balboa 
pier, while two Russian cargo ships, the "Rodina" and the "Kharstal," transit south. The "Shota Rustaveli," which had a large group 
of British tourists aboard, was en route from England to Australia. 

The Panama Canal Review 


Paika*;, VcaicK, ana Vyttcni 
But Ai>o Dcuivon <w<£ Biwg 

r ■ ■ 



C:apt. Aran Oganov, the 47-year-old skipper of the Ler- 
montov, commenting on the opening of the Leningrad-New 
York route, said thaUt is considered a goodwill mission by the 
Soviet Union and is not expected to pay for itself until some- 
time in the future. He noted that the ship has a capacity of 
700 passengers but was only half full. He said that it takes 
at least 450 to make a profit. 

Evidence of the goodwill theme was an exhibit of photo- 
graphs along one corridor showing Americans and Russians 
working together in such things as the space program. It was 
entitled, "Peace Through International Cooperation." 

What is it like to cruise with the Russians? 

One writer found the atmosphere aboard the Lermontov so 
tvpicallv Russian that he described it as a good way to visit 
Russia without setting foot on Soviet soil. 

A few hours aboard the Lermonroi 1 and there is a feeling 
of being already in Russia. Someone is strumming a balalaika; 
a peek into the music salon reveals a ballet dancer practicing 
a pirouette for the nightlv show; a display of classic wooden 
Russian dolls in one of the shops catches the eye; or one is 
bemused by the Cyrillic alphabet on the signs about the ship. 
In the card room, chess plavers bend over their boards and 
in the Festival Lounge on the top deck, Alexander Garaburda 
and his Jazz Quartet are plaving "Moscow Nights." (They 
also frequently played Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago even 
though the book is still banned in the Soviet Union.) 

Along with the music, there's plenty to drink with six bars 
dispensing Vodka, Scotch, Bourbon, or whatever vour favorite 

- i 

drink might be, as well as Danish and German beer. Though 
not available inside Russia, all kinds of American soft drinks 
are on sale on the ship. Ice cream and expresso are offered 
by the bar which operates in the heated, enclosed swimming 
pool area. 

Newspapers and magazines are strictly Soviet. There is no 
current world news available as the small English language 
newspaper, which is published every four days, contains 
mainlv biographical data on the crew and notes on tourist 
attractions in Russia. Some found this a relief. Others felt 
frustrated and cut-off from the world. 

At 10 o'clock each night, waitresses, bartenders and sailors 
turn into beautifullv costumed, skillful entertainers and put 
on a show of professional quality in the music salon. The ballet 
mav be performed bv vour favorite bartender while the sales- 
girl from the boutique turns out to be an excellent harpist, or 
vou mav spot the staff captain of the ship, dressed in peasant 
blouse, plaving the balalaika in the ship's orchestra. 

All members of the crew are required to have a university 
education and one suspects that they are selected for assign- 
ment to the ship not only on the basis of education but for their 
music and dancing abilities as well. 

Russian language lessons, dance lessons and lessons on the 
balalaika for children and adults are provided everv morning. 

N'ightlv movies feature some Russian films with English 
dubbed in; Russian-made Disnev-stvle cartoon shows for the 
children; and documentaries on such things as the ballet, the 
Kremlin, and Leningrad's Hermitage Museum. 


A departure from Russian entertainment was bingo, a pas- 
sion with some of the passengers even though the caller fre- 
quently confused the I and the O, causing the plavers to ask 
them to be repeated. This he patiently did in French, Russian, 
and English before proceeding to the next number. 

The laundrv service, as several passengers noted, must be 
the fastest in the world. Not only is everything returned within 
a few hours, but even the socks are carefully ironed and the 
smallest rip sewn up bv hand. 

Thoughtfully, an English translation of the laundry list is 
provided for the benefit of passengers who have not learned 
enough Russian to tell their shirts from their shorts. But most 
are somewhat puzzled to read the strange warning at the bot- 
tom: "No responsibility is accepted for the shrinkage or 
damage to any article or the washing out of colors of a 
fugitive nature." 

And for anyone who wants to sample Russian food, the 
menu offers dishes from all over the Soviet Union. It is not 
haute cuisine, bv any means, and there is none of the elaborate 
continental service. It is, however, wholesome and good and 
the service is fast-too fast in fact for some tastes. It includes 
caviar and sturgeon and a great assortment of Russian soups. 
The famous borscht, with freshly baked Russian black bread, 
is a meal in itself. Especially popular were the pane akes 
accompanied bv caviar. On the wine list are Georgian wines 
at $1.60 a bottle and French ones at slightly higher prices. 
Birch juice, a clear beverage which is made from the sap 
,,f the birch trees of Russia, was available at everv meal. But 

Scenes aboard the "Lermontov" show Captain Oganov with his staff and on the bridge with 
women officers; chess players; entertainment in the Festival Lounge including male crew- 
members in a take-off of Swan Lake; and classic Russian dolls in the souvenir shop. 

The "Lermontov's" chef holds a recipe 
session for those passengers who wish 
to leam Russian cuisine. 



JULY 20th, 1973 

Black Caviar on Crackers 

Shrimps Salad with Lettuce 

Tongue in Jelly wilh Horse-radish 

Orli Halibut, Tartare Sauce 

Chicken Shnitzel Ministersky with Fruits 

Cheese Board 

Ice-Cream Cognac Aroma 

Tea - Coffee 


Mineral Water 

Vodka Stolichnaya 

Dry White Wine 

Dry Red Wine 

Typical of the daily dishes are these 
included on the menu for the 
farewell dinner. 

for those who prefer other foods, there 
is also steak and French fries, and a 
variety of dishes from other countries. 
There are no rubles aboard the ship. 
The currency is the U.S. dollar and all 
other currencies must be converted. 

The chef samples a glass of Kvass, 
a Russian beverage made from rye bread 
and yeast, after giving passengers 
the recipe. 

This is handled at the ship's post office 
where one may encounter a long line 
of stamp collectors carefully making 
selections from the great variety of 
stamps available, some of which are 
reproductions of the most famous works 
of art in the Hermitage Museum. There 
was one skeptical elderly gentleman 
who had little faith in such beautiful 
stamps and asked the post office attend- 
ant, to her dismay, if she was sure "the 
stamps will work." 

An enthusiastic group gathered for 
the wine and vodka tasting partv where 
carafes of water bad been placed on the 
table to drink after each sample had 
been quaffed. One American student 
took a sip of water, thought it over care- 
fully, and solemnly announced that it 
was excellent and that he recognized it 
as coming from the Volga. Introducing 
Georgian wines, the master of cer- 
emonies suggested that the reason the 
people from Georgia live so long (one 
man has been reported to be 168 years 
old) is that thev drink the local wine. 
Still the vodka, which was served" 
straight, the Russian way, followed bv 
mineral water, was the most popular 
beverage of the evening. 

Amateur night for passengers proved 
that there were a number of uninhibited 
passengers among the German, Cana- 
dian, French, English, Russians, and 
Americans on board, but not much 
talent. Members of the crew, joining in 
to liven up the program, stole the show 
when a group of sailors and one of 
the bar waiters, dressed in tutus, per- 
formed an outlandish Swan Lake ballet 

Built in 1972 in Eastern Germany, 
the Lcrmontov is the newest of five 
sister ships. The others are the Alex- 
ander Pushkin, the Shota Rustaveli. the 
Taras Shvcnchcnko and the Ivan Fran- 
co, all of which, like the Lermontov, are 
named for famous Russian literary fig- 
ures. The Shota Rustaveli is seen fre- 
quently at the Canal en route from Eng- 
land to Australia; the Alexander Push- 
kin has been providing service from 
Montreal to Leningrad for the nast 7 
years; and the Taras Shvenehcnko will 

be coming to the Canal sometime dur- 
ing the winter cruise season. 

Flagship of the Baltic Steamship 
Co., the Lcrmontov is 586 feet long, 
has a beam of 78 feet, and a max- 
imum draft of 26 feet. She is fitted with 
stabilizers (anti-rolling devices) to pro- 
vide a smooth ride even in rough seas. 
A one-class ship, with 11 decks, 7 of 
them for passenger accommodations, 
she has a crew of 326. 

Accommodations are available in 10 
different types ranging from a deluxe 
suite on the boat deck to a four-berth 
cabin without bath on the third deck. 
All cabins have individually controlled 
air-conditioning and heating systems 
and telephones as well as comfortable 
modern furnishings with everything 
kept spic and span by an army of ener- 
getic young stewardesses. 

The price is low. A two-berth cabin 
is about $480 for the trip from New 
York to Leningrad. For similar accom- 
modations on the France to Southamp- 
ton only, the cost is $803 and on the 
Queen Elizabeth II, $870. The Lermon- 
tov, however, is not a luxury ship of the 
type to please the cruise passenger who 
is looking for elaborate continental food 
service, formal dress balls and casinos 
like those found on the large cruise 
liners. It is not a floating resort but a 
comfortable, practical passenger ship 
which can provide a cultural experience. 

It takes 14 days for the Lermontov, 
which has a top speed of 20 knots, to 
make the trip to Leningrad, with stops 
in England, France and Germany. This 
is about half the speed of the moth- 
balled SS United States. It is enough 
time for passengers to relax, make 
friends, and learn something about the 
Russians while enjoying all those special 
pleasures which cruising offers. 

Even those taking the most casual 
interest in things Russian were pleased 
to flaunt bits of knowledge acquired 
on the ship— such as that the Russian 
word for "red" also means "beautiful" 
and that it is from this meaning that 
Red Square derived its name or that 
Ivan the Terrible received his epithet 
from an English translation of the Rus- 
sian word that means "awesome" not 

Arrangements for travel on the Ler- 
montov, which has three trips scheduled 
during the summer months in 1974, can 
be made through the Baltic Shipping 
Co., 19 Rector St., Suite 3304, New 
York, New York 10006. 

A tourist must have a visa and each 
city to be visited must be listed on it. 
A visa is issued only after all hotel 
accommodations have been confirmed. 


Fall 1973 

Since the Soviet Union stretches almost halfway 
around the earth, only a small portion can be 
seen in a brief visit, but the Lermontov's 

4 days in port afford enough time for 
a look at Leningrad and Moscow. 

The ship's schedule provides enough 
time for a hrief look at London, Le 
Havre and Bremerhaven before arriv- 
ing at Leningrad, the sea gateway to 
Russia. There is time to see only a small 
part of the wealth of art in this city, 
which has 40 museums, including the 
Hermitage with its 1,020 rooms, known 
the world over for the masterpieces on 
exhibit there. It has been said that if a 
person spent onlv a few minutes in front 
of each painting, it would take 20 years 
to view every one of them. 

The Hermitage collection, which is 
housed in five buildings including the 
Winter Palace, is considered by many 
to be the greatest art collection in the 
world. It has 3 million objects including 
38 Rembrandts, 40 Rubens, a Leonardo 
da Vinci, a priceless collection of gold 
objects 2,500 vears old and five or six 
rooms of Impressionist and Post Impres- 
sionist paintings. One has to walk 15 
miles to visit each of the 322 galleries. 

From Leningrad, one can leave the 
ship and go by train or plane to visit 
the Kremlin, with its five exquisite 
churches, and the Armorv which con- 
tains the crown jewels, carriages and 
other artifacts from the age of the 
czars, and see Red Square and the world 
famous St. Basil's Cathedral, with its 
9 onion domes, each with its own 
unique style and color. It was commis- 
sioned in the 16th century, to com- 
memorate Ivan the Terrible's victory 
over the Tartars. There is a legend that 
when the cathedral was completed Ivan 
asked the two architects, who designed 
it, if they could create another just like 
it and when thev said thev could, he 
ordered their eves put out so thev would 
not be able to do so. 

Scenes in Moscow and Leningrad— Colossal statues supporting 
the porte-cochere at one of the entrances to the Hermitage Mu- 
seum; chandeliers and the decorative ceiling in a Moscow subway 
station; St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow; gilded columns 
and wall panels in the Winter Palace; and the Church of the Assumption, 
where czars of Russia were crowned, erected inside the Kremlin Wall in 1326 

The Panama Canal Review 21 


X and unpack or fight airport 
crowds or meet tight schedules or deal 
with reluctant taxis. This elegant ship 
will be vour hotel, easing you gently 
away from one port to another and you 
also will have a chance to observe the 
Panama Canal in operation while loung- 
ing on the sundeck." So reads the bro- 
chure of one of the cruise ships calling 
at Panama Canal ports during the winter 
cruise season, and judging bv the num- 
ber of ships arriving dailv at the Isth- 
mus, more and more people are being 
enticed bv such suggestions and are 
heading south bv ship for their winter 

Although manv of the ships travel- 
ling south are the newest and most lux- 
urious vessels afloat, others are old cus- 
tomers that have been through the Ca- 
nal many times. But old or new, most 
are destined for exotic spots that stim- 
ulate the spirit of adventure, such as 
Easter Island, the Galapagos, Mombasa, 
Kenya, Colombo, Ceylon, or the Straits 
of Magellan. 

In the past, the big cruise months for 
Panama were December, January, and 
February. But this year, the vessels 
began arriving in earlv September. 
Others now ignore the drv season alto- 
gether and make their appearances 
regularly in the late summer or earlv 
spring on around-the-world voyages. 

Some of the early arrivals this fall 
were the Norwegian America Line 
Sagafjord; the Royal Viking Sky, of the 
Royal Viking Line; the Gripsholm and 
Kungsholm, both owned by the Swed- 
ish America Line; the Victoria, of the 
Icres Line; and the Veendam, of the 
Holland America Line. All arrived in 

Pacific Ford has the Ocean Monarch 
on its spring cruise schedule listing 
May 28 as its arrival at Balboa en 
route to England. 

The Island Princess of the Princess 
Cruises, featuring a lido deck with 
sliding roof, will arrive January 23 from 
San Francisco to the Caribbean and 
return through the Canal March 26. 
C. Fernie & Co., agents for this ship, 
also are agents for a U.S.S.R.-flag cruise 
ship, the Taras Schecchcnko, due in 
Cristobal January 27 and February 21 
on Caribbean cruises. This agency also 
handles the Russian Fedor Shalyapin, 
the former Cunard Line Franconia, 
which arrived in Cristobal early in De- 
cember en route to Australia on a one- 
way trip from Southampton, England. 
After that she will make two Pacific 

The French Line represents the 
Paquet Line's Mermoz making 11 calls 
in Cristobal on Caribbean and Mexican 
cruises and the Renaissance due Jan- 
uary 22 on an around South America 
cruise. The French Line's famous 
France, which is too large to transit the 
Panama Canal, will not come to Panama 
this year but leaves New York January 4 
on a 92-dav luxury world cruise. 

The SS Veendam, en route on an 
around South America tour, is the 
former SS Argentina of the Moore- 
McCormack Line. The Royal Viking 
Sky, newest addition to the Royal Viking 
Line, was en route from the West Indies 
to San Francisco. This vessel, along 
with her sister ships, the Royal Viking 
Star and Royal Viking Sea, are sched- 
uled to make other transits through the 
Canal during the cruise season. With the 
exception of the Veendam, C. B. Fen ton 
is agent for these ships. 

Pacific Ford, agent for the Veendam, 
has announced that it will arrive at 
Balboa on a world cruise April 12, and 
will be docking in Cristobal. This 
agency also announced the arrival of 
the Volcndam on November 23 on a 
Caribbean cruise and in Cristobal on 
January 12 to transit the Canal on a 
South Pacific, South America cruise. 

The Volendam is the former Rrasil 
of the Moore-McCormack Line. The 
23,000-ton vessel was extensively al- 
tered for cruise service with her prom- 
enade deck transformed completely. 
In addition, her sundeck observation 
cafe was renovated and a number of 
new cabins added to her upper and 
boat decks. New decor and carpeting 
throughout the vessel completed her 
multi-million dollar face lifting. She is 
now designed to carry up to 500 vaca- 
tioners plus a crew of about 350. 

The Hanseatic, the former Hamburg 
of the German Atlantic Line is due 
March 23, 1974 on a Caribbean cruise 
and the Shaw Savill Line's Northern 
Star went south through the Canal in 
November and will return northbound 
May 1. 

This unusual 
photo, taken with 
a telephoto lens, 
shows both 
Pedro Miguel and 
Miraflores Locks 
as the "Royal 
Viking Sky" 
makes her first 
transit of the 
Canal on her 
maiden voyage 
from Europe to 
U.S. west coast. 


Fall 1973 



■seal Years 



1972 1961-65 

No. of 


No. of 

Tons Avg. No. Avg. tons 



of cargo 


of cargo transits of cargo 





526,280 46 168,966 





58,526 2 19,891 





12,408,313 1,294 8,292,285 





1,239,966 120 849,621 

Chinese, Nat'I. _ 




1,505,415 81 594,921 





518,991 256 408,588 

Costa Rican 









781,622 3 14,596 










2,113,069 307 1,548,545 





108,614 42 49,491 





214,723 24 107,205 

F rench. 




913,914 144 771,293 

German, East. 





German, West- 




4,628,907 1,122 3,391,774 





8,034,968 632 6,180,888 





92.868 197 153,814 





827,066 1 16,445 





293,796 65 253,130 





1,670,300 190 1,126,250 





11,572,991 835 4,871,840 





22,453,442 951 9,348,846 





391,101 25 77,779 





3,017,077 621 2,793,040 





230,759 52 80,143 





14,790,317 1,436 10,931,401 





4,012,173 461 1,968,519 





991,264 119 547,814 





654,583 70 310,866 






Singaporean — 





Somali . 





South Korean 




667.389 10 44,398 





985,690 23 164,686 





105,735 13 52,230 





2,795,999 336 2,157,223 

United States __ 




7,740,111 1,708 10,191,486 





792,230 13 106,870 

All others 




1,035,545 136 518,065 

Total __ 




109,233,725 11,335 68,112,909 



seal Years 

Avg. No. 

Trade routes— (Large commercial vessels, 300 net tons 

or over) 1973 1972 1961-65 

436 377 445 

East coast of United States- 

-West coast of South America- 1,083 980 2,355 

East coast of Unite 

d States- 

-West coast of Central America 651 667 500 

East coast of United States- 

-Far East . 

3,571 3,142 2,220 

East coast of United States/Canada— Oceania 

334 326 321 

890 909 954 

_ .. 1,202 1,298 1,236 

Europe— Oceania 

529 518 397 

5,145 5,549 2,907 


13.841 13,766 11,335 



Vessels of 300 net tons or over— 

( Fiscal years ) 


Tolls (In thousands of dollars)! 

Avg. No. Average 

transits tolls 




1961-65 1973 1972 1961-65 

July. _ _ 

1 138 



960 $8,518 $8,017 $4,929 



949 9,522 8,513 4,920 




908 8,896 8,417 4,697 




946 9,298 7,241 4,838 

1 141 


922 9,130 6,645 4,748 




946 8,958 7,267 4,955 




903 9,703 8,895 4,635 

February . . 



868 8,328 8,233 4,506 




1,014 9,916 9,297 5,325 




966 9,507 9,180 5,067 




999 9,378 9,127 5,232 




954 9,878 7,933 5,013 

Totals for fiscal year 

-__ 13,841 


11,335 $111,032 $98,765 $58,865 

1 Before deduction of any operating expenses. 


TRANSITS (Oceangoing Vessels) 

1973 1972 

Commercial 13,841 13,766 

U.S. Government 373 413 

Free 24 59 

Total 14,238 14,238 


Commercial.. SI 11.091,606 S98,833,373 
U.S. Govern- 
ment 2,289,792 2,655,316 

Total _-S113, 381,398 3101,488,689 

CARGO' (Oceangoing) 

Commercial-. 126,143,495 109.271,968 
U.S. Govern- 
ment 1,405.428 1,742,303 

Free 12,810 62.532 

Total 127,561,733 111.076,803 

° Inchides tolls on all vessels, oceangoing 
and small. 

oa Cargo figures are in long tons. 

The P & O Line, represented here 
by Norton Lilly, will have several ships 
passing through the Canal during 
the winter season. The Canberra is due 
in Cristobal January 19 on an around- 
the-world cruise and the Arcadia will 
make two calls in Cristobal in Januarv 
and February. The Orsova will arrive 
from Southampton Januarv 29 and the 
Oriana is due in Balboa from Honolulu 
March 23. 

Norton Lilly also announced the 
Januarv 31 arrival of the 24,000-ton 
Achillc Lauro making an around South 
America cruise. Passengers making this 
trip will spend 4 days in Rio attending 
the carnival festivities. 

The Chandris America Line's Ellinis 
arrived December 12 and is due again 
March 6 on Caribbean cruises. Accord- 
ing to Andrews & Co., the Australis 
carrying 2,400 passengers is due in 
Balboa both January 24 and March 26, 
traveling northbound. 

A lion's share of the local cruise busi- 
ness is handled by C. B. Fenton & Co. 
which lists a bumper crop of 25 visits 
here bv cruise vessels of various nation- 
alities. In addition to the five that 
arrived here in October, Fenton is taking 
care of six in December, seven in Jan- 
uarv, four in February and two in 

Thev include the Norwegian Saga- 
fjord, the Swedish Gripshohn, the Dan- 
ish Royal Viking Sky, the Norwegian 
Southward, the Italian Costa Line 
Angelina Lauro and the Danish Royal 
Viking Star. The Angelina Lauro, which 

The Panama Canal Review 


made regular visits to the Isthmus last 
year, will do so again this year sailing 
every other Saturday from Port Ever- 
glades and calling at Nassau, San Juan, 
and several other Caribbean ports as 
well as Cristobal. 

Among the January arrivals are the 
Vistafjord, flagship of the Norwegian 
America Line making her second trip 
through the Panama Canal on Jan- 
uary 10 on an around-the-world cruise. 
The ship, a running mate of the Saga- 
fjord, has new style stabilizer fins which 
brought her across the North Atlantic 
early this year "sailing smoothly as a 
swan" in the teeth of a heavy gale. The 
elegantly appointed 25,000-ton vessel 
was specifically designed for the Amer- 
ican cruise market and among her dis- 
tinguishing features is the Vista Dining 
Room located on the upper deck to 
afford passengers an ever changing view 
of the sea. All of the 500 or more 
passengers can be accommodated in a 
single sitting. 

With the recent acquisition by the 
Orient Overseas Line of the American 
President Line's President Wilson, only 
five American passenger vessels remain 
active and all operate out of the west 
coast of the United States. They are the 
Mariposa and Monterey, of the Pacific 
Far East Line and Prudential Grace's 
Santa Maria, Santa Mariana and Santa 
Mercedes. According to Boyd Bros., the 
Monterey is due to arrive at the Panama 
Canal, later in the season, from Mexico 
en route to Haiti and will return to San 
Francisco passing through the Canal 
July 5. Boyd also handles the Neptune 
and Jason, two cruise vessels of the 
Epirotiki Line, which will make Cris- 
tobal a port of call during the winter 
Caribbean cruise season. 

With this issue, The Panama 
Canal Review loses a senior mem- 
ber of its editorial staff. Eunice Rich- 
ard, a veteran of more than 20 years 
with the Panama Canal Information 
Office, retires before the next issue. 
A versatile writer and experienced 
newswoman, she has contributed 
articles on a wide variety of subjects, 
and has made a speciality of ship- 
ping news. Her farewell feature, a 
nostalgic flashback to the days when 
Panama's traffic moved on the left, 
appears on page 25. 


( All cargo figures in long tons ) 

Pacific to Atlantic 

Fiscal Year 

5-Yr. Avg. 

Commodity 1973 1972 1961-65 

Petroleum and products (excluding asphalt )__ 8,186,605 2,516,877 1,805,862 

Manufactures of iron and steel 7,866,842 7,670,401 1,036,394 

Lumber and products 5,392,268 5,581,236 4,004,201 

Ores various __ 4,996,350 4,248,594 1,009,694 

Suea'r - — — . 3,347,338 3,413,574 2,296,584 

Petroleumcoke 1,896,898 1,202,891 N.A. 

Pulpwood 1,515,147 1,224,547 517,629 

Food in refrigeration (excluding bananas) 1,493,521 1,393,292 898,880 

Metals, various 1,343,699 1,385,442 1,187,362 

Bananas 1,304,070 1,133,869 1,161,381 

Autos, trucks, accessories and parts 1,030,364 849,408 17,302 

Paper and paper products 754,815 614,945 200,598 

Sulfur _ --- 742,701 675,864 98,508 

Coffee L 555,034 510,146 419,012 

Molasses 517,495 576,281 154,220 

All others 11,766,388 13,584,804 15,886,953 

Total 52,709,535 46,582,171 30,694,580 

Atlantic to Pacific 

Fiscal Year 

5-Yr. Avg. 

Commodity 1973 1972 1961-65 

Coal and coke 13,645,489 14,114,249 6,061,195 

Petroleum and products (excluding asphalt)__ 12,689,644 13,448,955 11,384,781 

Com — - --_— 8,436,204 3,795,678 1,501,869 

Phosphate 4,580,992 4,208,082 2,137,487 

Soybeans 4,497,660 3,770,267 1,449,114 

Metal, scrap 3,234,160 1,392,742 2,663,773 

Wheat _ 2,785,691 2,049,840 565,795 

Sorghum 2,563,311 1,149,158 N.A. 

Ores, various 2,489,814 2,477,926 309,593 

Sugar 1,794,403 1,777,025 1,011,013 

Manufactures of iron and steel 1,768,726 1,475,152 1,500,673 

Chemicals, unclassified 1,248,009 895,085 657,500 

Fertilizers, unclassified 1,096,459 810,969 388,007 

Rice 864,828 603,711 154,248 

Paper and paper products 649,413 743,305 428,942 

All others and unclassified 11,049,691 9,939,410 7,204,338 

Total 73,394,494 62,651,554 37,418,328 


Fiscal Year 

Avg. No. 
1973 1972 1961-65 

Atlantic Pacific 

to to 

Pacific Atlantic Total Total Total 

Commercial vessels: 

Oceangoing 7,082 6,759 13,841 13,766 11,335 

Small 1 404 318 722 777 547 

Total Commercial 7,486 7,077 14,563 14,543 11,882 

U.S. Government vessels: 2 

Oceangoing 168 205 373 413 250 

Small 1 56 62 118 148 157 

Total Commercial and 

U.S. Government 7,710 7,344 15,054 15,104 12,289 

1 Vessels under 300 net tons or 500 displacement tons. 

2 Vessels on which tolls are credited. Prior to July 1, 1951, Government- operated ships transited 


Fall 1973 

Recently, after threading his way through the labyrinth of detours caused by 
the street and highway improvement projects in Balboa, one disoriented motorist 
said, "There hasn't been so much confusion since the big changeover from left 
to right hand driving in 1943." 

The person who made this remark had to be an oldtimer. Few presently residing 
on the Isthmus remember that traffic on the streets of Panama and the Canal 
Zone once moved on the left hand side just as it presently does in England. 

Thirty years and a million cars later, there are few things left to remind the 
Isthmian motorist of the old drive to the left rules. Some of the changes were 
simple. They included the switching of traffic signs from the left to the right side 
of the roads to face right hand traffic. This was done in all towns and along all 
highways. At Diablo Heights, the onlv change was the reversal of one-way traffic 
around the parking area in front of the clubhouse and a change in the angle of 
parking to conform to the right hand drive. 

Direction of traffic was reversed in the five main traffic circles in Balboa and 
Balboa Heights in accordance with the recommendations of the traffic com- 
mittee. One-way traffic on the Prado in Balboa also was reversed with cars going 
toward the Service Center on the right hand side from the direction of the 
Administration Building and on the left hand side from the Service Center toward 
the Building. Pier Street near the Terminal Building in Balboa has remained the 
same to this day so as not to interfere with traffic of cars waiting for ships. 

When Left Was Right 

By Eunice Richard 


All other traffic switched from the left 
to the right without incident the morn- 
ing of April 15, 1943. 

It was a red letter dav for motorists 
and operators of other types of vehicles 
in the Canal Zone and Panama. It was 
a day that had been in the planning and 
discussion stage for more than 20 years. 
Death and disaster on the highways and 
byways of the Isthmus had been pre- 
dicted. Taxi drivers protested. Con- 
firmed left hand drivers, resisting 

change, had debated the question with 
the Automobile Club. Ministers of the 
Panama Government had called it il- 
legal. Top police officials had argued it 
out with highway experts. But with an 
international highway under construc- 
tion and World War II bringing in 
hundreds of new workers accustomed 
to the right hand drive, the change was 

So after weeks of publicity in the local 
press, pages of instructions to the traffic 
police and the public, the big moment 
finally came. 

At 5 a.m. on April 15, the sirens and 
fire whistles in Panama blew for 3 min- 
utes. All vehicular traffic on the Isthmian 
highways came to a complete stop. And 
then like a slow ballet, everyone shifted 
over to the right hand side of the road. 

To the complete surprise of everyone, 
the change from left to right hand drive 
was made without any of the trouble 
anticipated by civilian and military po- 
lice in the Canal Zone and the national 
police of Panama. 

The local press reported the only 
difficulty was with the horses that pulled 
the little two-passenger coaches known 
locally as "carramettas" (a corruption 
of the Spanish word carromato which 
means coach) in the cities of Panama 
and Colon. They seemed unable to 
understand why they could not go along 
as they had always done. One coachman 
on Fourth of July Avenue was seen 
having considerable difficulty with his 
horse that insisted on heading down the 
left side of the road. 

Officers stationed at traffic circles and 
one-way streets where directions had 
been reversed reported no difficulty on 
the part of most drivers although one 
officer had to whistle down a police cap- 
tain who was entering a one-way street 
from the wrong direction. 

The only accident had nothing to do 
with the change. It involved a police 
officer who rammed into the back of a 
garbage truck, causing about $60 worth 
of damage to his own car. 

On one Armv truck, a soldier rode 
on the right fender as a guide. The 
truck started down the wrong side of 
the road as it swung onto Fourth of 
July Avenue from the military reserva- 
tion entrance, but the soldier called to 
the driver to pull onto the proper side 
of the road before there were anv com- 

Much of the success of the switch 
from left to right hand drive on the 
streets of the Canal Zone and Panama 
could be attributed to the careful plan- 
ning bv the two traffic departments and 
the campaign in the newspapers which 
even printed drawings of arrows on 
which appeared "drive to the right" to 
be pasted on drivers' windshields. Po- 
lice warned about overconfidenee after 
a few days of driving on the right 
hand side of the road and motorists 
were cautioned about careless driving, 
drunken driving and speeding. 

As the police pointed out, there were 
more complications than the simple 
shift from the left to right hand side of 
the road. Both the Canal Zone and Pan- 
ama made many changes in traffic reg- 
ulations as well as in the direction of 

The Panama Canal Review 25 

THOSE WERE THE DAYS when traffic was so light that it 
didn't matter too much whether one drove to the right, to the left, 
or straight down the middle of the road; hut as time passed, 
traffic picked up, and left hand driving produced safety hazards, 
particularly for the motorcyclist with a sidecar. Today, 
with the right hand driving rule now in effect for 20 years, 
traffic moves efficiently down the hill from the 
Administration Building at Balboa Heights under 
the direction of the Canal Zone Police. 

travel on streets, effective on the day 
of the shift. A one month breaking-in 
period called for reduced speed limits 
for all vehicles to 12 miles per hour for 
private automobiles and 10 miles per 
hour for other types of vehicles. Luckily 
for the police in 1943, traffic was light 
and gasoline was being rationed. 

Motorists were warned about the 
obvious safetv hazards and told what 
to do if traffic approached on the wrong 
side of the road. "Stop the car. If pos- 
sible, drive off the road. Blow the horn. 
Under no circumstances attempt to pass 
the other car on the wrong side." 

Keeping right after a left turn was 
another hazard as there were pedes- 
trians who had become confused and 
watched for traffic approaching from 
the wrong direction before stepping 
from the curb. Pedestrians were urged 
to cross the street at the end of the 
block onlv and to use marked cross- 
walks where provided. 

Most Isthmian drivers came through 
the ordeal in fine shape and with hardly 
anv bent fenders. And there was at least 
one group of workers in the Canal Zone 
that hardly noticed the change. They 
were the emplovees at the third locks 
site in Gatun, where the right hand 
drive rule had been in effect since the 
work had begun more than 2 vears 

When work started on construction 
of the third set of locks in 1940, a proj- 
ect which was never completed, it was 
decided that the right hand drive would 
cause fewer traffic accidents in the con- 
struction area, since practically all of 
the truck-drivers were fresh from the 
United States. 

In 1928, Panama and 13 other coun- 
tries in the world had "drive to the left" 
rules which are still in effect in Great 
Britain, Ireland and several countries 
where there has been British influence. 

Some said that the original horse-cab 
drivers in Panama were natives of the 
British Caribbean islands and, despite 
the growth of international touring and 
the Dopularitv of the American auto- 
mobile built for right hand driving, the 
custom persisted. 

There were few roads on the Isthmus 
when the United States started to con- 
struct the Canal in 1904 and the side 
of the road taken by a horse and buggy 
or the slow moving early motorcars 
made little difference. 

But by 1928, there were warnings of 
serious traffic problems to come with 
the increase in vehicular traffic and 
the construction of the Inter-American 
Highway. An article . in the Panama 
American in 1931 said, "It is important 


Fall 1973 

that the automobiles of Panama and the 
Canal Zone be transferred to the right 
side of the road before the Pan Amer- 
ican Highway is opened if vehicular 
confusion, approximating the linguistic 
tangle encountered bv the builders of 
the Tower of Babel, was to be avoided. 

"Should this strip on the through 
route from Alaska to Patagonia retain 
the left side drive, the interesting re- 
sult would be signs notifying motorists 
to transfer to the opposite side of the 
road when crossing the Panamanian 
border." The storv predicted that this 
would mean that for a few miles on 
each side of the border garages estab- 
lished "to salvage the dozens of daily 
wrecks" would do a thriving business. 

Even without the Pan American 
Highway, there were many accidents in 
Panama in the 1930's which could be 
attributed to the fact that U.S. man- 
ufactured vehicles came with right 
hand steering and drivers had to pull 
out in the center of the road to see 
ahead before passing a car. Driving 
motorcycles with sidecars was espe- 
ciallv hazardous. Some buses had exits 
on the right side and passengers had to 
disembark in the middle of the street. 

Since the local bus and "chiva" driv- 
ers had gone to considerable expense 
to convert vehicles purchased in the 
United States for driving to the left. 
thev objected to spending additional 
monev to again change the exits. Taxi 
drivers were against the changeover 
also but gave no reason. 

Public opinion, influenced bv the 
newspapers and the Rotarv Clubs in 
Panama, began to favor the change- 
over in the mid thirties when editorials 
and articles began to appear in the local 
papers. In 1936, the American Feder- 
ation of Government Emplovees passed 
a resolution in favor of a change in 
traffic regulations to permit vehicular 
traffic to use the right hand. Members 
of the Panama Metal Trades Council 
added their names to the ranks of Isth- 
mian residents in favor of the change 
to right hand drive. The Cristobal- 
Colon Rotarv Cub went on record for 
the fourth time in support of the traffic 
change. One member objected, how- 
ever, saving the left hand drive was a 
thrill for the tourists. 

There have been a number of the- 
ories on how England came to adopt 
the left hand drive system in the first 

Quoting the National Geographic, 
one student of the problem wrote in the 
Panama American in 1936 that the prac- 
tice may have come from the habit of 
the English coachman of sitting on 

Above: "Carramettas" line up for 
passengers at the Panama City 
Railroad Station in 1906. Used 
for transportation on the Isthmus 
before automobiles were available, 
thev were always driven to the 
left. At left: Cars adhering 
to the left hand rule wait at the 
Panama City crossing in 1930. 
Lower left: Cars move along 
Central Avenue in today's 
bustling Panama City near 
the site shown in the photo above. 

the right side of the driver's seat. "He 
grasped the whip in his right hand. In 
passing another coach, he wanted to 
be in a position from which he could 
best prevent a collision. So he passed 
an oncoming coach on that coach's 
right. From his seat on the right of his 
coach he could see how near his wheels 
came to those of the other vehicle." 

On the continent, it was more fre- 
quently the custom for a postilion, or 
rider, to guide the horses instead of a 
coachman. The postilion took his place 
at the left of the lead team in order to 
have his right hand free to grasp the 
nearest bridle. He also wanted to avoid 
collisions but being on the left, it was 
better for him to turn his horses to the 

In the United States, it was sug- 
gested, the right hand rule was adopted 
because the oxen took the right side in 
the old davs. Oxen were the draft ani- 
mals most used in the colonies and the 
driver directed them by voice and whip. 
He held the whip in his right hand and 
trudged along on the left of the oxen. 

In the National Geographic survey 
of the situation in 1936, about 60 of 
the nations and colonies of the world 
favored the right side drive, 43 clung 
to the left. The need for a uniform 

rule was not so apparent in the 
United States and Canada as in Europe. 
The National Geographic commented, 
"Consider the problem of a motorist 
who tried to drive in those dav from 
Norwav to Italv through the Dolomites. 
He started bravely out from Oslo, keep- 
ing to the right until he reached the 
Swedish border. Thereupon he kept to 
the left. Let him have his wits about 
him because when he ferried over to 
Denmark, he must again move over to 
the right of the road. Germanv was the 
same. Back again to the left in Czech- 
oslovakia. And just as the bewildered 
autoist gets used to left driving in Aus- 
tria, he must steel his nerves to switch 
back to the right rule of the road in 
Yugoslavia and Italy." 

In England, where the vehicular 
traffic kept to the left and the rule of 
the sidewalk or pathway was to keep to 
the right, there had been some confu- 
sion before the English rule of the road 
was made a law in 1835. 

But before that date the following 
poem appeared in an English journal: 

"The law of the road is a paradox 

As vou're driving your carriage along 

If vou go to the left you're sure to go 

The Panama Canal Review 









By Franklin 

You Can. Not an order but the 
name of one of the oldest and most 
legend-shrouded streets in the city of 

It also is one of the few streets to 
have kept its name during all the years 
of its existence. Officially, it has been 
East 13th Street since the early 1900's 
but no one, except perhaps the city 
mapmaker, recognizes this fact. 

Going back into the mists of time- 
Panama Citv was founded more than 
300 vears ago— Salsipuedes was men- 
tioned bv historians as a cobble-stone 
lane lined with shops and houses owned 
and inhabited mostly by Chinese. 

The name seems to have come about 
following a series of mysterious deaths 
and disappearances, some of them con- 
nected with children. In fact, early res- 
idents of this section of the city and its 
environs used to scare their children 
with a Salsipuedes version of the 

Whether or not these stories are true, 
the present street, with its hundreds of 
peddlers and stalls, is more like a 
crowded, colorful country fair than a 
place to be feared. 

Country Fair 

According to Panama historian Juana 
Oiler de Mulford, whose book on Pan- 
ama was published in the 1940's, Salsi- 
puedes was located outside of the old 
walled city which was entered by the 
Puerta de Tierra near La Merced 
Church on 10th Street. When night 
fell, residents of the city of Panama 
were careful to hurry home behind the 
walls as those unfortunate enough to be 
caught outside after dark were liable to 
be murdered or robbed or both. Need- 
less to sav, it was the wealthy classes, 
the government officials and other im- 
portant people who lived within the 
walled section. 

Panama in those days, as it is now, 
was a meeting place of the Americas— 
the crossroads of the world. Outside the 
walls was one of the wildest collections 
of outlaws, soldiers of fortune, and 
vagabonds in the hemisphere. Some 
were gold-hunting gringos headed for 
California. Others were looking for for- 
tunes in Panama and, like the Chinese, 
had settled on the Isthmus to open a 
shop, a restaurant, or an opium selling 
establishment, most of which were 
located then in Salsipuedes. 

In addition to being the Chinatown 
of the Isthmus, the narrow street which 
led to the docks and seawall of Panama 
was a hive of activity during the day. 


But at night the hill down through Sal- 
sipuedes became a shadowy gateway 
to a gambling and drinking haven for 
the lowest tvpes on the Isthmus. There 
was an unwritten law in those days that 
whoever found himself after 7 o'clock 
at night in a gambling den, a cantina, 
or any kind of a store in Salsipuedes, 
remained where he was to save his life. 
To venture forth after that hour was to 
court death. 

With lights low or nonexistent as they 
were in the davs preceding the turn of 
the centurv, it was easy to imagine 
Salsipuedes as the hellhole of the city 
and attribute most of the notorious 
crimes to demons in human form who 
came out at night to prey on defenseless 

One of Mrs. Oiler's stories concerns 
an aristocratic but weak-willed gentle- 
man named Don Francisco del Corral, 
whose passion for gambling led him to 
perdition and death in Salsipuedes at 
the hands of a sinister foreigner to 
whom he had forfeited his fortune— and 
his wife. Legend has it that the stranger 
was reallv the devil in disguise and that 
he took the soul of Don Francisco as 
pavment for his sins. 

The beginning of the end of the street 
as a gathering place for gamblers and 
opium sellers may have been signaled 
bv the fire in 1884, which destroved 
most of the wooden buildings from Sal- 
sipuedes to the present day Lottery Pla- 
za. Six prisoners locked up in the old city 
jail died in the holocaust before the fire- 
men could drag them to safety. The 
firefighting unit, formed 7 years earlier, 
was the forerunner of Panama's modern 
fire department. Chief of the Bomberos 
at the time was Ricardo Arango, who 
also was Governor of the Department 
of Panama, then a part of Colombia. 
Ass Struck Dead 

Salsipuedes even plaved a part in 
the historv of the new Republic of Pan- 
ama, for it was there that the onlv blood 
of the revolution of 1903 was shed. 
According to official accounts, Dr. Ma- 
nuel Amador Guerrero had just pro- 
claimed the Independence of the Isth- 
mus of Panama without bloodshed 
when the Colombian gunboat Bogota, 
harbored in Panama Bav, began indis- 
criminate firing upon the citv. This 
bombardment which lasted only half 
an hour and lobbed a mere dozen shells 
into the citv, was ineffective. But it 
resulted in two casualties— a Chinese 
gentleman who was eating dinner at his 
home in Salsipuedes and an ass struck 
dead in the slaughterhouse. 


Fall 1973 

The hustle and bustle of Salsipuedes 
seen from the top of the street at 
the intersection of Central Avenue. 
In the center is the Homsany store which 
was the old Hotel Italia until 1894 
and was later the luxurious residence 
of a distinguished Panama family. 
The roofs on the street venders' stalls 
were added in 1969. 

The house on the left in this old picture 
obviously is devoted to the sale of opium. 
It was run by Chinese and a great 
majority of its customers also were 
Chinese. After the fire of 1894, 
this opium business was moved to the 
intersection of 13th Stret and Avenue B. 
At present the site is occupied bv the 
Bala de Oro bakery. 

The Panama Canal Review 


Pinatas, Toys, Incense, Oranges, Photos, 

Bread or Herbs 

' HT 1 

r i 


Today's Salsipuedes is more like a colorful country fair than a place to be feared, and customers come from distant 

points to shop amid its carnival atmosphere. This ancient camera, which has a pan of developing chemicals inside, usually 

attracts a crowd when the sidewalk photographer reaches inside and pulls out a wet print. 

Street vendors, called "buhoneros" in 
Spanish, started moving into Salsipue- 
des as a sort of adjunct to the big public 
market, which was established in 1900. 
At first there were only a few. Bv 1947 
there were 20 or 25 "buhoneros" in 
business along the narrow street. Thev 
would set up tables and portable stands 
on the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to 
walk in the street. Several attempts 
were made to move the vendors to other 
locations but thev kept coming back. 

The battle of the street peddlers and 
the merchants and the Panama Munici- 
pal Government finally ended in 1969 
when former Mayor Eliecer Alvarado 
ordered the construction of permanent 
stands all along the street and closed 
the entire Salsipuedes area to vehicular 
traffic all the wav from Central Avenue 
to the market. Officially', it was named 

Alcalde Alvarado Commercial Center, 
but nobodv ever calls it anything but 

At present there are about 250 street 
vendors in Salsipuedes and neighboring 
streets. Many of them belong to a 
union and thev pay from $3 to $5 a 
month to the municipal government in 
taxes depending on the type of mer- 
chandise they sell. 

The street has been a major tourist 
attraction for manv years and even up- 
stages the more luxurious shops and 
shopping centers in other parts of the 

As one writer put it some vears ago, 
it is a place to buv anything from love 
potions to lizards and lotions. There are 
toys, ladies' lingerie, stainless steel, 
roach poison, jewelrv and gimcrackerv 
of even' description. A cure for vour 

ailments, physical and otherwise, may 
be found in little stalls selling herbs and 
leaves. Some have exotic names and 
cure everything from a sore throat to 
liver trouble. There are second hand 
shops selling tools, pipe, electrical fix- 
tures, clothing and golf balls. 

Despite the new supermarkets, the 
old ways still persist in Salsipuedes, 
where sooner or later all Panama passes 
on the wav to the market. When night 
falls, however, the hubbub dies down 
and the street goes back to another era. 
With a little imagination, a visitor can 
see the sinister shadows of its former 
residents crossing from one sidewalk to 
another. With a little more imagination 
one can feel the icy fingers of fear that 
must have touched the unfortunate 
visitors who lost track of time and 
remained outside the city wall after 


Fall 1973 


Portobelo Awakens 

Real Panama Hat 


Panama's Money Trees 


All About the Mola 

Modish Molas 

Cane Cages Come in Many Shapes 

From Panama's Primitive Past 

Comes the Chaquira 
Mobile Masterpieces 
A Bird Watcher's Paradise 
It's More Than Pot Luck at La Arena 
The Pollera 
Down in the Darien 

Panama— Focal Point of History 
Flowering Trees 
The Panama Canal 




Special Review Reprints Popular Panama Articles 

Noic is your chance to have reprints of the most popular articles to appear 
in recent issues of The Panama Canal Review. Whether you are interested in 
the mola, tlic chaquira, the pollera, or recipes for seviche, you will find 
them in this special edition of the Review. 

A list of the articles, which have been selected from issues published be- 
tween 1965 and 1973, appears at left. Orders should be sent to The Panama 
Canal Review, Box M, Balboa Heights, Canal Zone. Each copy comes in a 
special envelope with a gift card, which will be inscribed as you request. Single 
copies, regular mail are $1 each, airmail $2. Check or money order should be 
payable to the Panama Canal Company. The special edition is on sale also 
at Panama Canal retail stores and military exchanges on both sides of the 

The regular edition of the Review is available by subscription for $1 a year 
regular or $2 airmail. You may subscribe when you order the special edition. 

The Panama Canal Review 




By Fannie P. Hernandez 









important place in mankind's nourishment. Where other food was often 
lacking, or in short supply, there usually was a bowl of soup made with yester- 
day's leftovers. In times of disaster, soup has fed large masses of people who 
would otherwise have gone hungry. And "adding water to the soup" has saved 
the dav for many a housewife who has been faced with unexpected guests 
at mealtime. 

A caldron or soup kettle, dispersing aromatic vapors from simmering pieces 
of meat, fish, edible scraps, bone and herbs, has been a familiar sight on the 
kitchen range or hearth since antiquity. Not so many years ago, every kitchen 
had a coal- or wood-burning stove and the simmering soup kettle was as much 
a part of the scene as the brewing coffeepot. 

With the advent of gas and electric ranges, soup making became a forgotten 
art, and in these days of rapid-pace living and eating, the can opener has 
displaced the soup pot. However, with the skyrocketing prices of food, espe- 
cially meat, the housewife would do well to restore the past art of the freshly 
homemade soup, giving reign to her imagination and to the use of fresh local 

It is said that a good honest, homemade soup can make a meal or save a 
meal. When the fare is skimpy, add a soup; when there are remains of uncon- 
sumed edibles in the refrigerator, invent a soup. As an appetizer, a whiff of 
an aromatic soup can stimulate the palate. As a main course, a hearty soup, 
containing ingredients of plant and animal origin, supplies a high degree of 
man's daily food requirements. Because of their digestive and nutritional qual- 
ities, soups are essential in the diets of infants, the elderly and the ailing. 

Stew is related to soup and so is pudding. One of the earliest references to 
soup in the English language describes it as "kind of sweet pleasant broth, 
made rich with fruit or vegetables and spices." These sweetened soups gradually 
thickened into puddings. 

Down through the ages, everv civilization, every country or regional area 
has enjoyed and been sustained by its own particular version of soup. The 
French housewife has fed her family a sturdy soup of meat and vegetables 
known as pot-au-feu, literally "pot on the fire:" Italian monks kept a pot of 
minestrone simmering on the hearth clay and night to feed hungry, wears' 
travelers who might be stopping by the abbey; the Spanish have puchero and 
the lavish cocido in the style of the pot-au-feu, with the broth served first 
separately followed by the meat and vegetables; Russian cooks combine beets, 
cabbage, leeks and parsnips, their most popular vegetables, with meat to con- 
coct their specialty known as borsch, which thev serve with a big, boiled white 
potato and thick slabs of dark brown bread; Scandinavians have preferred fruit 
soups often made of dried fruits and served before the main dish or as a dessert; 
the Greeks, a soup flavored with lemon; the early settlers in the United States 
learned from the American Indians how to make chowder; Panama has sancocho, 
a banquet in itself. 

As to be expected, it was the French who perfected the art of soup making 
and it is estimated that ten thousand soups originated in Paris kitchens alone. 
Knowing the basics, soup making has no limits. Recipes can be changed, given 
a new twist, or discarded altogether. 


°0 t 






Fall 1973 

Soup is a hospitable dish that can be 
adapted to the whirlwind of modern day 
living when members of the family are 
on different schedules. A pregame bowl 
of savory, bubbly soup will satisfy teen- 
agers rushing off to sports events and 
it's great, too, for an idle stay-at-home 
Sundav evening. A pot of good soup is 
worth its weight in gold for entertain- 
ing that "petit comite" of guests who 
have been invited for holiday eggnog 
or cocktails and decide to linger for a 
gab fest. And what can be more hospi- 
table than inviting the gang over for a 
bovl of soup after one of those "on the 
town" sprees or after a late, late New 
Year's party. 

In tropical Panama, it is traditional to 
serve hot soup before the main course 
at lunch and dinner. Based on meat, 
poultry, fish, seafood or vegetables, 
soups run the gamut from the simple 
"caldo" to "sancocho," an entire meal. 

Sancocho de Callina 

Sancocho, what may be called Pan- 
ama's national dish, is robust enough to 
be a meal in itself. It is often served as 
such for Sunday dinner and on special 
occasions. Like many of the national 
dishes it is a half soup, half stew, rich 
and satisfying. Anyone who has eaten a 
dish of chicken sancocho will concede 
to its superiority. There are several ver- 
sions, made with either meat or chicken 
or a combination of both. 

Here is one version of the great San- 
cocho de Gallina: 
a 4 or 5 pound stewing hen, cleaned, 

dressed and cut up (a nice, big roaster 
will do as well) 
1 large onion 

ripe tomatoes 

green peppers 

garlic cloves, mashed 

quarts cold water 

1 pound yucca 

2 medium size otoes 
1 pound name 

3 green plantains 

'A pound zapallo (pumpkin) 
3 ears of tender corn 
1 pound potatoes 

salt and pepper 

coriander and parsley 

Place the cut-up hen in the cold 
water with the herbs and salt and pep- 
per and cook slowly until the hen is 
tender. While it is cooking, chop the 
onion, tomatoes, peppers, and add to 
the pot with the garlic. Cut the corn 
and plantains in 1%-inch pieces and 
add Then chop the remaining veg- 
etables (not too small) and add. Con- 
tinue cooking until all the vegetables 
are tender. Season to taste. For a little 
more zip, add a bit of hot pepper. Serve 

in large soup dishes. For meat sancocho 
use 2 pounds of beef brisket or flank- 
steak (cut-up) and increase the quantity 
of vegetables. 


Caldillo, a fragrant tomato, onion and 
egg combination, rings the bell as one 
of the favorite of all soups served in 
Panama. A gustful main dish soup, it 
has become famous as the "after the 
late party" soup and a bowl of fire-hot 
caldillo at the Panama hotels or social 
clubs is a must as a reviver of exhausted 
carnival revellers after 3 days of party- 
ing. Here is one way to make Caldillo: 

3 green peppers 

'A cup chopped green onions 

4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped 
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz) 

8 cups of consomme or chicken broth 
cayenne pepper or aji chombo 
salt and pepper 
cream or evaporated milk 
12 eggs 

In a large heavy pot, saute the veg- 
etables in a little butter for about 5 min- 
utes, add the tomato paste, and cook 
slowly until well blended and veg- 
etables are soft. Add the cayenne pep- 
per or aji chombo and salt and pepper 
to taste. Add the consomme and bring 
to a boil and simmer. About 10 minutes 
before serving, break eggs separately 
and add two at a time to the simmering 
soup. As they set, remove the eggs to 
six individual bowls containing about 
i/ 3 cup of warm milk or cream and fill 
the bowl with the caldillo. 

Esteem for provincial food is shown in "Sancocho Santeno" prepared by Dr. Maria 
Villalaz de Arias, Panamanian physician, whose recipe calls for a hen and the following 
chopped vegetables: 2 pounds name; 1 green pepper; 1 large tomato; Vz pound cabbage; 
1 big onion; 3 garlic cloves, mashed; 4 coriander leaves; Vz teaspoon oregano; and salt 
to taste. Put the hen in a pot of cold water to cover. When soup begins to boil, remove foam. 
Add chopped tomato and onion. When the hen begins to get tender, add name and cabbage. 
About 5 minutes before removing from fire, add coriander and salt. Serve with fluffy, white 

rice and fried plantain. 

The Panama Canal Review 


Shrimp Caldillo 

An even more delicious version of the 
life giving soup is Shrimp Caldillo made 
this wav: 

Cook two pounds of raw shrimp in 
6 cups of lightly seasoned water until 
thev turn pink. Strain and use this water 
as the stock for the soup. Peel and de- 
vein the shrimp, cut in pieces (not too 
small ) . and add to the soup after it has 
come to a hoil. Simmer and correct sea- 
sonings and continue with the rest of 
the recipe. 

Fish Soup 

Hugged bv two oceans, it is only 
natural that Panama has fabulous fish 
and seafood soups. They come in as 
manv varieties as there are fish in the 
sea. Unlike meat soups, fish takes very 
little cooking time. Here is a superb Fish 
Soup that is simple to make with a few 
2 pcnmds of white fish 
1 large onion, sliced 
6 sprigs of parsley 
1 stalk celery or celery leaves 
1 hay leaf 
1 pound name 

salt ami pepper 

flour and lemon juice 
6 cups of water 

Clean and cut the fish in 3 4-inch 
slices, reserving the heads and bones. 
Sprinkle the slices with lemon juice and 
dust with flour, salt and pepper. Frv 
in olive oil until tender. Make a fish 
stock bv cooking the heads and bones 
in the water with the onion, parsley, 
celerv and bav leaf. Simmer for v i hour. 
Strain the stock and remove anv edible 
fish particles from the heads. Add these 
to the stock with the fried fish and 
name. Cook slowlv until the name is 
tender. Correct the seasoning. A little 
aji chombo mav be added for a "hotter" 

Clam Chowder 

One of the most popular soups in Pan- 
ama is made with fresh clams that are 

available at the market 7 days a week. 

Make excellent Panama Clam Chowder 

this way: 

4 cups fresh clams 

l',i pounds name, peeled and cut into small 

1 medium onion, chopped 
1 large tomato, chopped 
1 sweet pepper, chopped 
1 coriander leaf 
8 cups hot water 
salt and pepper 

Place clams in salted water for half 
an hour. Remove and put into hot water 
and cook until the clams open up. Drain 
and save the water. When the clams 
have cooled, remove from the shells and 
clean. Cook the onion, tomato and pep- 
per with the coriander in a little oil until 
soft. Rinse the name well. Strain into a 
pot the water the clams were cooked in 
to remove anv sand. Add to this water 
the cooked vegetables, the name and 
the clams. Simmer about 20 minutes or 
until the name is tender. 


A flavorful half soup, half stew tvpe 
meal for the heftier appetites is Guacho. 
It can be made with chicken, beef or 
pork, combined with beans or guandu 
and rice. Mention the word "guacho" to 
a Panamanian and it will immediately 
evoke the goodness of the melange. 
Here is one wav to make it: 
1 pound red beans 
1 pound rice, washed several times 
J/i pounds salt pork, cubed 
1 pound yucca, cut up 

1 pound name, cut up 
1 sweet pepper, chopped 
1 onion, chopped 
1 stalk celery, chopped 
3 or 4 cloves garlic, masfwd 

1 small can of tomato paste 

Wash beans and put in a large pot 
with plentv of water. Add 1 tablespoon 
of salt, and boil until almost tender. 
Add the salt pork and as the water 
cooks awav keep adding more until the 
beans are cooked. Then add the rice, 
blending it well with the beans and 
meat. About half an hour later add 
the vucca. In another half hour, add the 
name. When the name is tender, the 
guacho is ready to serve. While the gua- 
cho is cooking, make a "refrito" with the 
remaining vegetables and tomato paste. 
Put a big tablespoonful of "refrito" on 
top of each serving of guacho. 

Avocado Soup 

As a Christmas gift to the readers of 
Culinary Capers, here are simple in- 
structions for making a delicious Avo- 
cado Soup when thev are in season: 
3 cups chicken consomme 

2 avocados, mashed 
1 avocado, cubed 

whipped cream or evaporated milk 
Add the mashed avocados to warm 
consomme and blend thoroughlv. Cook 
slowlv. stirring constantly until the soup 
comes to a boil. Remove from the fire 
immediately and pour over the cubed 
avocado in the soup bowls. Put a dollop 
of lightlv salted whipped cream or a lit- 
tle evaporated milk on top of the soup. 
This recipe serves two or three. 

What can be more satisfying than a dish of delicious fish soup made "quick and easy" wit! 

Panama's bounty from the sea! 


Fall 1973 

Canal fllitowj, 

50 Years Ago 

Harbor between the SS Aban- 
garez, of the United Fruit Company, 
and the U.S. Submarine 0-5 proceeding 
from Coco Solo to Balboa occurred in 
October 1923. The submarine sank im- 
mediately in 36 feet of water. The event 
became one of the most pictoriallv doc- 
umented stories of submarine salvage 
ever made. An underwater diving record 
was made when Sheppard J. Shreaves, 
a Canal Zone diver in his rescue at- 
tempts, made the longest dive up to that 

It also became the first attempt at 
physically lifting anv vessel the size of 
the 420-ton 0-5 submarine off the ocean 
bottom. When the surviving crewmem- 
bers were mustered after the submarine 
sank, it was found that five men were 
missing. Efforts were started at once to 
raise the sunken submarine by the Navy 
and the Panama Canal divers working 
with the floating crane Ajax. The sub- 
marine was brought to the surface 31 
hours later on October 20 when two of 
the missing men were taken out. The 
bodies of two others were found floating 
in the bay but one was never found. 

The Isthmus was inundated bv the 
heavy rains that fell over Gatun water- 
shed October 23 and 24, 1923. Since 
this was 10 years before the construction 
of Madden Dam, the runoff which went 
directly into Gatun Lake was at the 
highest rate in the history of the Canal. 
It brought an interruption of Canal traf- 
fic due in part to the strong current at 
Samboa, where the waters of the Chag- 
'es River reached the Canal channel, 
ind in part to the use of the lock cul- 
verts to discharge excess water from Ga- 
tun Lake. Eleven gates of the spillway 
were opened and when the flood was at 
ts height, the sidewall culverts at Gatun 
md Pedro Miguel Locks also were 
spened. The rains started again October 
24 but this time over the surface of the 
lake. Again traffic was suspended while 
the sidewall culverts at Gatun and Ped- 
ro Miguel Locks were used to spill 
>vater from the lake. All rainfall records 
)n the Atlantic side for the complete 
nonth of October were broken in onlv 
i days from October 22 to 25. 

The SS Easterner , which transited 
the Canal August 15, had as part of her 
cargo a veritable zoological garden con- 
sisting of camels, kangaroos, opossums, 
wombats, lions, emus, cockatoos, par- 
rots, geese and a number of snakes, liz- 
ards and turtles. The ship was en route 
from Sydney, Australia, to New York. 
Also on board were 12 tons of dried 

25 Years Ago 

United States income tax to the Canal 
Zone was introduced into the House of 
Representatives in May 1948. News of 
the tax bill was a surprise since informa- 
tion from Washington, at the time the 
measure was being drafted, was that it 
was unlikely that it would be presented 
before the next session of Congress. 

Meanwhile news sources at Balboa 
Heights expressed the belief that the 
Selective Sendee bill, approved bv the 
U.S. Senate, would applv to the Canal 
Zone and would require a local board 
svstem to be established with a quota 
to be filled from the Canal Zone. 

Margarita Hospital, which had been 
in operation for the past 6 vears, was 
closed and the patients were transferred 

to Colon Hospital. Secretary of Defense 
James Forrestal announced he was 
streamlining medical services for the 
U.S. Armed Forces and civilians in the 
Canal Zone. Fort Gulick Hospital also 
was closed. 

U.S. Ambassador to Panama Mon- 
nett N. Davis announced that the Board 
of Directors of the Export Import Bank 
had approved the application of a loan 
for $2 million to be used toward the 
construction of the Hotel El Panama 
which was to be built bv Hoteles Inter- 
americanos, S.A. with the backing of the 
Panama Government. It also was an- 
nounced that when this hotel was com- 
pleted, the Tivoli and Washington Ho- 
tels would cater onlv to official U.S. 

10 Years Ago 

moving the Panama Canal Printing 
Plant from Mount Hope to La Boca 
was carried out 10 years ago during the 
months of October and November. 
Overseeing the move, which involved 
the transfer of hundreds of pieces of 
equipment and the relocation of 61 em- 
ployees were John B. Coffey, then Print- 
ing Plant Superintendent, and W. R. 
Price, foreman. 

Three U.S. manufacturing companies 
submitted bids on the furnishing and 
installation at Miraflores of major com- 
ponents of a steam generating unit 
which was to add 22,000 kilowatts to 
the electrical power generation poten- 
tial of the Panama Canal power system. 
It was to go into operation in approx- 
imately 2 vears. 

ALMOST 60 YEARS AGO-Workmen dismantle the Governor's House in June 1914 
preparatory to moving it to Balboa Heights. The house was originally located in the con- 
struction-day town of Culebra on the banks of what is now Gaillard Cut. The Panama 
Canal Review is interested in hearing from readers who may have other old photographs 
of the Governor's House as well as any items of furniture originally associated with it. 

The Panama Canal Review 35 

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